Converting/Splitting Code - Open to Closed

SamBC sambc at
Thu Feb 15 21:34:21 UTC 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ryan S. Dancey" <ryand at>

> Someone could attempt to secure a patent on the code after it was
> using the GPL.  Assuming a patent was granted, the patent holder could
> stop the distribution of the code by requiring the payment of a
royalty for
> distribution, thus making it impossible to distribute the code and
> to both the GPL's terms and the patent licensing agreement.

Forutnately for us Europeans, that doesn't apply here - software and
algorithms are, IIUC, non-patentable in Europe. IANAL

> This is one of the dangers of basing Linux (or any other large,
> multicontributor project) on the GPL; the threat that something
> deeply in the code could eventually have an external patent applied,
> necessitating a rewrite of the affected portions of the software; and
> possibly "breaking" dependencies.

It's quite good that a lot of Kernel development is european-located

> The GPL is a copyright license, so it isn't going to be much help in
> defending against a hostile patent suit.

I'm being a bit OTT, but I feel the need to point out

USA != World

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