IBM and Patents

Russell McOrmond russell at
Mon Feb 2 14:40:49 UTC 2004

On Sun, 1 Feb 2004, Rick Moen wrote:

> Quoting Ken Brown (kenbrown at
> > Does anybody know whey I can get a list of IBM patents that have been
> > GPL'ed?
> Ken -- 
> Please re-read GPLv2 clause 0:  It applies to creative works under
> copyright law, not patent law.

  While the GPLv2 is not itself a patent license, it does require that an
RF patent license be applied to any patents embeded within it in order to
have the copyright works properly licensed. which among other things includes:

    Finally, any free program is threatened constantly by software 
    patents.  We wish to avoid the danger that redistributors of a free
    program will individually obtain patent licenses, in effect making the
    program proprietary. To prevent this, we have made it clear that any
    patent must be licensed for everyone's free use or not licensed at 


    7.  If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent
    infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues),
    conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or
    otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not
    excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot
    distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this
    License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you
    may not distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent
    license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by
    all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then
    the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to
    refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.
    8.  If the distribution and/or use of the Program is restricted in
    certain countries either by patents or by copyrighted interfaces, the
    original copyright holder who places the Program under this License
    may add an explicit geographical distribution limitation excluding
    those countries, so that distribution is permitted only in or among
    countries not thus excluded. In such case, this License incorporates
    the limitation as if written in the body of this License.

 Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <> 
 Governance software that controls ICT, automates government policy, or
 electronically counts votes, shouldn't be bought any more than 
 politicians should be bought.  --

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