software patents (STWL: please comment)

John Cowan cowan at
Sun Nov 14 07:58:15 UTC 2004

Bernhard Fastenrath scripsit:

> No, they don't. Alice has to have a software patent claim in order for 
> the paragraph 5 to take effect at all. 

Quite so.  So add point 0, which is that Alice has a patent of some kind,
not necessarily relevant to her GPLed software.

> Also the STWL is a BSD-style
> license and this case does not apply as Bob can do whatever he wants to 
> do with the software Alice wrote as long as he gives credit to Alice and 
> observes paragraphs 3 and 4.

You're mixing things up.  Alice releases her software under the GPL.

> In order for your example to apply Alice would have to have a software 
> patent that applies to a software released under the STWL and sue Bob 
> for infringement, which would be rather strange behaviour. You are 
> right, however, that this would terminate all Alice's STWL licenses.

You said that if a patent holder sues anyone for any infringement of
her IP, all her STWL licenses are terminated.  You did *not* say that
this was limited to an infringement of her patents.  Most of us don't
have patents, but most of us do have copyrights.

> Because you want to retain the right to patent any part of your GPL 
> software and sue all users of your software?

No.  But I reserve the right to sue those who infringe my copyright.
(My name is on a patent, though that patent has nothing to do with
any software I have released.)

Principles.  You can't say A is         John Cowan <cowan at>
made of B or vice versa.  All mass
is interaction.  --Richard Feynman

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