The Open Invention Network (OIN), a fledgling patent-holding company, made its debut Thursday with a mission to offer royalty-free patents to the open-source community, NewsFactor reports.

IBM, Novell, Phillips, Red Hat, and Sony are backing the venture, which is believed to be the first of its kind company that will share current and future patents with anyone as long as programmers agree not to assert their patents against the Linux operating system and certain applications.

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