“To the extent a party makes, uses, sells, offers to sell, imports, or otherwise transfers Covered FOSS, Red Hat agrees not to use such actions as a basis for enforcing its patents against the party.”
The above mentioned is the opening line of Red Hat’s “Patent Promise”. Open Source Software (OSS) and patent protection have never been the best of allies. But Red Hat altered that equation by turning free and open software into a product.
Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of open source-based information technology (IT) solutions and is known for its enterprise operating system Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It owns an impressive portfolio of more than three-thousand patent assets. The company discourages patent aggression and made its first Patent Promise in 2002, which is the commitment not to enforce its patent portfolio against open source software.
Red Hat’s defensive approach to patents has built trust among the open source developers and has fostered innovation on the company’s platforms. The company embraces and propagates the open source ethos of contribution, collaboration and transparency. Red Hat’s core philosophy is rightly captured in a quote by Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat’s current CEO and president, “Open source is the driving force behind much of the technology innovation.”
Red Hat has built a substantial patent portfolio over two decades of its existence. Figure 1 depicts the number of patent assets owned by the company across technology categories. In the figure, the size of a bubble corresponds to the total number of patent applications for a technology category. The bubble proximity corresponds to the “relatedness” of the individual technology categories.
Red Hat’s move from being an enterprise Linux provider to cloud computing has been interesting and strategic. In 2006, Red Hat acquired JBoss, a leading Java middleware company, as a part of its plan to provide customers with a cloud-based enterprise stack. Red Hat’s big ‘cloud’ break happened when it started working with OpenStack, which formed the foundation of Red Hat’s Infrastructure-as-a-service model.
After leading the open source movement for two decades, Red Hat is being acquired by IBM. Irrespective of whether IBM’s primary reason for this move is to establish cloud supremacy and compete with Microsoft, Amazon and Google, or to make greater inroads into the open-source ecosystem, it marks a major change for both the companies. Considered to be one of the most significant tech acquisition of 2018, it is speculated that this deal will change the cloud-market landscape.
IBM and Red Hat are among the largest contributors to the Java platform and our analysis reveals that Red Hat’s patent assets will bolster IBM’s large and diverse portfolio in cloud-related technology areas.
Table 1 shows the portfolio fit of the two companies. It gives the number of patent assets for IBM and Red Hat in each technology category. While IBM possesses a huge patent portfolio across technologies, Red Hat has built a medium-sized patent portfolio that is tightly focused on cloud infrastructure and software, specifically addressing its deployment and management.
Red Hat’s average patent portfolio quality is high.
We computed the average Star Rating (Relecura’s measure for the quality of individual patents) for the portfolio. It turned out to be 2.9 out of 5. Typically, a patent with a Relecura Star rating of 3 or more is deemed as one of high-quality.
IBM’s patent portfolio is many orders of magnitude larger than that of Red Hat, with greater coverage in each of the technology categories addressed by Red Hat’s portfolio. Hence, it does not seem that patents were the main driver for IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat, in comparison to other strategic objectives such as making inroads into the open cloud segment by virtue of Red Hat’s established position in the market, and thus competing more strongly with the leading incumbents like Amazon, Microsoft and Google. Nonetheless, Red Hat’s high-quality patent portfolio will greatly strengthen IBM’s patent coverage in different cloud infrastructure related categories, especially in the U.S. market. Going forward, it will be interesting to track the impact of Red Hat’s acquisition on IBM’s cloud business, once this deal closes in late 2019.
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Relecura’s forte is its flexibility and adaptability to address specific problems and close-fitting solutions. The basic problem is that innovators are often not able to identify the industrial and commercial significance of their innovation as due diligence takes long days of analyses, necessitating a deviation from their regular and familiar activities. And it is a tedious iteration process. The latest custom AI capabilities help you assess the commercial value of innovation and technical due diligence can be automated to yield meaningful and immediate results. The repetitive tasks could be automated, and your time and energy could be devoted to strategic missions.
Management of large Innovation data is costly and labor intensive. Relecura offers AI-powered classification tools for categorizing and organizing data automatically and instantly. Automated Categorization against suitably chosen training documents keeps your innovation portfolio updated and lucidly classified, amenable to instant analyses.
Relecura offers fully automated custom AI solutions to track and explore developments in different technology areas. You can stay updated on the latest developments in different companies and technologies of your interest, which facilitates intelligent decision-making.
Competitive intelligence is a prerequisite for strategic decision making. Relecura provides tools to track the innovation and publication dynamics of your competitors, based on which you can prioritize your innovation initiatives and thus hone up your competitive edge.
Relecura uses white space analysis within its product platform known as the TechTracker, an AI-powered tool that provides insights on various technological trends and offers a peep into your competitor’s patent arsenal. Additionally, it helps you keep track of emerging organizations and technologies to help you manage your budgets and investments, optimally.
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‘Our policy decisions regarding the focus areas of research and investment are being taken based on the insights offered by the custom AI tool, TechTracker, which offers a clear picture about the emerging technologies, companies, and the white spaces on the technology landscape of the key players. This helps us optimize resource utilization and maximize returns,’
‘The Classifier tool, introduced by Relecura, is indeed useful in managing and updating large datasets. After having subscribed to that AI-powered tool, in-house big data management and analyses have become easier and hassle-free.”
“Relecura platform is fueled by the latest technologies, and the tools that the platform hosts make our in-house innovation management smooth and accurate, in addition to being synchronized with the global technology frontline.”
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