Termination for Patent Action

'Arnoud Engelfriet' galactus at stack.nl
Sun Sep 28 09:54:06 UTC 2003

Lawrence E. Rosen wrote:
> Arnoud Engelfriet responded:
> > Actually it goes much further. If you sue any author of any 
> > AFL- licensed software for patent infringement, you lose all rights 
> > to *all* AFL-licensed software, as well as all rights to all 
> > other software with that same "poison pill" clause. Currently 
> > that means you also lose rights to all OSL-licensed software.
> Actually, the new AFL version 2.0
> (http://www.opensource.org/licenses/afl-2.0.php) doesn't contain that mutual
> defense clause because some key folks really hated it and refused to use any
> license that contained it.

Ah. It was a very inconvenient clause, yes,

>    infringement (i) against Licensor with respect to a patent
>    applicable to software

So if I start any lawsuit against Licensor for *any* software patent,
even if totally unrelated to the AFL-licensed work, I lose my rights
under the license? That is still quite inconenient. 

The problem I have with this clause is that it is impossible
to evaluate its impact in advance. With the GPL's patent clause
you know its scope: the software you license. With the old AFL/OSL
clause, and IMHO also with this new one, you don't know what your
non-assert is going to be. In other words, you don't know what
you are licensing. 

> This is very similar to the language in the Mozilla, IBM, Apple, and many
> other licenses.

The MPL only forces you to refrain from asserting patents on
the software you are licensing. So this is much more reasonable.


Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies: http://www.iusmentis.com/
license-discuss archive is at http://crynwr.com/cgi-bin/ezmlm-cgi?3

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