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ASU partners on innovative mobile device security research

August 18, 2010

Aiming to develop solutions to critical security issues for mobile computing devices, Open Invention Network (OIN) and Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE), the official technology transfer office of Arizona State University, announced that they have launched a research program focused on mobile device identity management technology. OIN has also acquired key intellectual property from AzTE in this area of research.

The research program will facilitate the growth in intellectual property that is available to enable open source’s continued expansion into mobile technologies, while simultaneously providing intellectual property for defensive purposes in an increasingly competitive market.

A defensive patent management organization formed by IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony to support Linux systems, OIN has established a uniquely collaborative business model attractive to universities. OIN licenses the technologies from its defensive patent pool on a royalty-free basis. It typically works with universities on technology and patent acquisitions, funded research and defensive-publication programs.

In this case, OIN is sponsoring the research of ASU’s Dr. Gail-Joon Ahn, intending to deepen OIN’s impact in support of Linux’s migration into mobile devices, a key emerging market for the open source community. Ahn, a professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and director of the Laboratory of Security Engineering for Future Computing (SEFCOM), began his research on security technologies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte before joining ASU in 2008.

“We expect to continue to acquire patents from universities and a variety of other secondary sources," said OIN CEO Keith Bergelt. "In addition, in select circumstances OIN will also be willing to sponsor research in key areas. Given the strength of ASU’s research platform represented by AzTE, and the positive experience we have had in working with Dr. Ahn and AzTE in the past, OIN is pleased to sponsor this research through which we will support the continued advancement of open source solutions into mobile devices.”

Ahn’s research could prove invaluable to users of mobile devices who currently face many potential security issues. With the growing popularity of these devices, Ahn believes his research could have a significant impact.

“Mobile device security has recently received considerable attention since it lacks a usable and effective method for handling user credentials,” Ahn said. “Our approach seeks a way to solve critical security issues such as identity theft, fraud and privacy concerns related to all mobile computing devices.”

“This agreement allows ASU to further develop this important technology,” AzTE Managing Director Augustine V. Cheng said. “Our engagement with high quality and dynamic organizations such as OIN supports our mission of enhancing the global impact of innovation and highlights ASU’s efforts to advance research, discovery, entrepreneurship and scholarship.”

About AzTE
Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE) is a nonprofit organization which operates as the exclusive intellectual property management and technology transfer organization for ASU and its research enterprise. Comprised of industry and university veterans, AzTE brings together ASU’s researchers and industry partners to transform discoveries into marketable products and services, taking innovation out of the lab and into the commercial marketplace.

About Open Invention Network®
Open Invention Network is a collaborative enterprise that enables innovation in open source and an increasingly vibrant ecosystem around Linux. It does this by acquiring and licensing patents, influencing behaviors and policy and protecting the integrity of the ecosystem through strategic programs such as Linux Defenders. OIN enables the growth and continuation of open source software by fostering a healthy Linux ecosystem of investors, vendors, developers and users.

Open Invention Network has considerable industry backing. It was launched in 2005, by IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony. OIN has received supplemental financial support from Canonical.