software patents (STWL: please comment)

Bernhard Fastenrath bfastenrath at
Sun Nov 14 15:39:37 UTC 2004

John Cowan wrote:

> 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.

Okay. Alice releases her software under the GPL and has a software 
patent for that software. I would have to check the GPL is that is
acceptable but let's assume it is. Bob uses that software in a
proprietary piece of software and Alice sues Bob for neglecting
the terms of the GPL. Her patent is not involved has her lawsuit
is based on the terms of the GPL and the patent is not in question.
The paragraph does not apply.

>>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.

You probably read the initial version which already has been changed
in the course of the discussion:

   "5. If you are owner of software patents you agree to refrain from
any legal action based on infringement of your intellectual property 
claims derived from __said_patents__ against users of open source 
software and concerning open source software as defined by the Open 
Source Initiative (OSI)."

>>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.)

This paragraph is only related to software patents. You have to have
a software patent or this paragraph does not apply.

-- <>

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