Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei announces that it is joining the Open Invention Network, in which Linux programmers are free to use patent-pending programs to create money-making software.

The Open Invention Network is an organisation with more than 3000 members (and is financially supported by Google, Sony and IBM, among others) who share made software with each other free of charge. As long as developers make their own contributions (free of charge), they are allowed to use patent-pending internally shared software.

It is a remarkable step for Huawei to join the group, as in recent years the Chinese tech giant has earned billions in royalties because of patents it had. In addition, a lawsuit is still pending in the United States against Huawei for stealing trade secrets, which makes contributing to a group in which a form of free contributions is remarkable.

Despite those financial reasons not to join the OIN, there is a prominent reason to do so: Huawei has been contributing to Linux programs for quite some time, including the Linux Kernel itself.

According to Jianxin Ding, who heads the Intellectual Property department at Huawei, the choice to connect to the OIN is simple:

“Huawei always wants to deliver the highest quality and Linux is an indispensable ingredient in the technology we develop and integrate. By joining the OIN, we show that we are progressive when it comes to innovation and that we support it through non-aggression patents in Linux and other open-source projects”.