Why the Open Charge Alliance is joining the Open Invention Network Community

The Open Charge Alliance, the international nonprofit organization advancing open standards for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, recently announced that it’s joining the Open Invention Network (OIN). OIN is the largest patent non-aggression community in history and supports freedom of action in Linux as a key element of open source software.

By joining OIN, the Open Charge Alliance is demonstrating its commitment to open-source software (OSS) as an enabler of electric vehicle (EV) charging and infrastructure systems. OCA will draw on OIN’s wealth of experience in enabling patent non-aggression in key markets to establish an OCA working group whose mission will be to enable patent non-aggression and spur higher levels of innovation across the EV infrastructure community. Through its collaboration with OIN, OCA is expected to reduce risk for developers and companies building and contributing to open standards for EV charging stations, which contributes to interoperability among stations and increasing consumer adoption of EVs.

“Both OCA and OIN bring together companies from all around the world,” director of standardization at Open Charge Alliance, Lonneke Driessen told Power Electronics News. “They will combine their efforts to ensure everyone who supports open standards for EV charging infrastructure can easily join forces, similar to what has been done by the Linux community.”

According to Driessen, patent aggression prevents innovation by driving fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) among software developers and businesses. Often times, patent aggression is simply that – a tactic used to drive enough FUD to prevent adoption of open technologies. “We know this from the history of Linux, which faced this from Microsoft and others,” she said. “But thanks to the Open Invention Network and its work to create a patent commons for Linux, technology and business innovation has flourished. That’s what we expect as the result of establishing the same kind of patent strategy in the EV charging space.”

According to research published by MarketsandMarkets, the EV charging station market is expected to reach $12.61 Billion USD by 2022, at a CAGR of 29.8 percent, between 2016 and 2022. Given the growth trajectory of this market, patent aggression by companies that seek to constrain innovation and force adoption of sub-optimal proprietary solutions is not unusual.  Through participation in OIN and the formation of an industry working group, OCA is evidencing its commitment to the critical role of open source software and standards as building blocks upon which the rapid growth of the global EV market will rest.

“We are pleased that the Open Charge Alliance is demonstrating EV infrastructure industry leadership and supporting patent non-aggression in Linux by joining OIN,” said CEO of Open Invention Network, Keith Bergelt. “As part of this agreement, OIN and OCA will work to support freedom of action and freedom to operate in electric vehicle charging worldwide.”

The Open Charge Alliance hosts the open charge point protocol (OCPP), considered the de-facto standard for charging infrastructure interoperability among charging equipment manufacturers, software and systems providers; charging network operators and research organizations. The OCA hosts technical, compliance and marketing workgroups that advance the protocol. The development of the OCPP is accelerating adoption of electric vehicles as open standards among charging stations increase ease of both charging and billing.

According to Driessen, the market opportunity for EVs and charging infrastructure is bigger than any of us, and definitely bigger than one vendor. Open-source software and standards provide the common foundation in a ripe market on top of which everyone can innovate and differentiate. This leads to quicker technology development and adoption of technologies.

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