CA releases software patents to open-source developers

Von Todd R.

In move to support open-source software development, Computer Associates International Inc. Wednesday announced that technologies covered by 14 of its U.S. patents are being made available to individuals and groups working on open-source projects.

The move by the Islandia, N.Y.-based software vendor comes eight months after IBM announced a similar move, when it opened 500 of its patents to the open-source community last January.

CA Wednesday also announced that it has reached a long-term patent cross-license agreement with IBM, creating an exchange of license rights and releases between the companies.

"Part of our motivation is to be able to say that we think the next generation of innovation is going to come from open-source, and we want the next generation of developers to be able to innovate," said Mark Barrenechea, an executive vice president of technology strategy and chief technology architect at CA. That prompted CA to allow some of its relevant patents to be used by open-source developers for their projects.

For developers, the move will give them freer rein to explore software technology, Barrenechea said. "You get concerned around areas that may have strong patents in place" that can hinder development, he added.

CA said it is joining IBM in encouraging other companies to create an industrywide "patent commons" in which patents are pledged royalty-free to further innovation in areas of broad interest to developers and users of IT.

The patents covered by CA"s nonassertion pledge involve the following:

- Application development and modeling that automates translation between programming languages and provides visual modeling and editing of data objects to create more powerful, flexible programming tools.

- Business intelligence and analytics that simplify visualization of complex multidimensional data techniques with neural networking technology and efficient management of the aggregation and population of data marts.

- Systems management and storage management technologies that provide intelligent process controls to maximize system performance and storage utilization.

- Network management and security tools that enhance visualization of network traffic patterns and congestion, selectively capture and filter network traffic and provide granular session-control capabilities.

A complete list of applicable CA patents is available at The affected patents also include their counterparts that have been issued in other countries. To qualify for the CA program, licenses of products using specified CA intellectual property must be certified by, according to the company.

Jim Stallings, IBM"s vice president of intellectual property and standards, said in a statement that CA"s efforts will help the open-source movement.

"Everyone benefits when innovation is fostered through collaboration and the open exchange of technological advances," he said. "We are gratified to see CA respond so enthusiastically to IBM"s call for owners of intellectual property to accelerate interoperability and the adoption of open-source software."