Intel's proposed BSD + Patent License

Chloe Hoffman chloehoffman at
Fri Nov 2 15:29:27 UTC 2001

This is not legal advice. No lawyer-client relationship is established. 
Speaking only for myself. etc etc.

>From: Russell Nelson <nelson at>
>To: license-discuss at
>Subject: Re: Intel's proposed BSD + Patent License
>Date: Fri,  2 Nov 2001 09:00:56 -0500 (EST)
>John Cowan writes:
>  > Stamnes, Michelle wrote:
>  >
>  > > Yes, you can use this software with FreeBSD. FreeBSD is subject to 
>the BSD
>  > > license, so you have no patent license for the original code.
>  >
>  > I'm sorry, but this seems to be a contradiction in terms.  If there is
>  > an Intel patent on the art of which this software is an expression, 
>  > *using* the software with FreeBSD is precisely what we cannot do
>  > without becoming scofflaws.
>If you're using FreeBSD, then your rights under the BSD+Patent License
>are exactly the same as if the code was BSD licensed.  How is this not
>open source?

It can be "not open source" if the original BSD license included a limited 
patent license and an express patent license provides even more limited 
rights than the original BSD which do meet the OSD.

>  > actual *distribution* of the OS under the GPL.
>s/BSD/GPL/, burn a CD, and send it to me.  You are now using a
>GPL-licensed OS.  But that's besides the point, really.  The point is
>whether a license which is open source can become not so if a patent
>license is included with it.

Speaking about the general case, it seems to me that the OSD is not couched 
in the terminology of specific rights. It talks of "licenses". In my view, 
as the OSD is drafted, all granted licenses in an OSD approved license, 
whether, e.g., patent or copyright, must meet the OSD. Moreover, the 
non-specificity seems to make sense  - the licensee should be secure that 
he/she has all the rights needed to practice at least the grants specified 
in the license.

>-russ nelson <sig at>
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