RBC Joins the Open Invention Network To Protect Fintech From Looming Threat of Patent Trolls


Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) joins the Open Invention Network (OIN) as its newest community member. 

OIN was formed to safeguard open source software (OSS), with the company now the largest patent non-aggression community in history. It announced this week that RBC has joined as a community member.

OIN is an advocate for patent non-aggression, something it describes as ‘defensive strategies that protect us against the aggressive use of patents’. When a company claims a patent and uses its right to an invention as a means to prevent others from entering the market effectively, this is patent aggression; also sometimes known as a ‘patent troll’.

In order to avoid this and protect the integrity of the market, OIN buy patents and licenses them royalty-free to its community members who, in turn, agree not to assert their own patents against Linux and Linux-related systems and applications.

First introduced to the world on 17 September 1991 by Linus Torvalds, Linux is an ecosystem of open-source operating systems based on the Linux kernel. Linux is a server for lots of everyday things, like the web, databases and email, and is almost always a shared server.

In its latest activity study, OIN identified clearly how the presence of patent trolls is fast becoming a serious problem in fintech, emphasising how the worst is still yet to come. Figures showed a 100 per cent increase in the number of non-practising entities (NPEs) – people who own a patent but don’t practice it – taking people to court between 2020 and 2021.

These figures are significant because financial services saw by far the greatest change of any sector recorded in the study.

Keith Bergelt, CEO of OINKeith Bergelt, CEO of OIN
Keith Bergelt

“The financial services and fintech industries increasingly rely on open source technologies. Global financial services leaders, like RBC, which recognise the benefits of open source technologies are building, buying, and integrating feature-rich platforms to make them more effective for their clients,” said Keith Bergelt, CEO of OIN.

“We are pleased that RBC has joined our community and committed to patent non-aggression in Linux and adjacent open source technologies.”

“RBC recognises open source as a significant enabler of innovation and it was important for us to join the Open Invention Network and support its role in protecting Linux system open source software from patent litigation risk,” said Lucille D’Souza, VP and associate general counsel, RBC strategy and operations.

With RBC now a confirmed member, the bank will enjoy access to the network’s royalty-free patents, alongside some 3,600 other members; recently including Advantest, Truist and Maersk.

  • Tyler is a Fintech Junior Journalist with specific interests in Online Banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.