software patents (STWL: please comment)

Lasse Reichstein Nielsen atwork at
Mon Nov 15 08:45:38 UTC 2004

On Sun, 14 Nov 2004 16:39:37 +0100, Bernhard Fastenrath  
<bfastenrath at> wrote:

[current wording being discussed]
>    "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)."

How will be bound by this clause (i.e., who is "you")?
If you add it to section 2 of the GPL, it will affect people making
modifications, but if you add it to section 3, it will affect people
distributing the program. You will have to be more precise about
what is added where.

if the goal is to prevent patent litigation entirely, then this might
suffice, otherwise it is overly broad.
Anyone who accepts a license containing this text will be prevented
 from filing *any* claims, because *everyone* is a "user of open source
software" (if nothing else, there is BSD code in Windows).

The text doesn't require the claims to be about the covered software.

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

But if you do, and if it applies, you cannot enforce the patent at all
against anybody.

Lasse R. Nielsen - atwork at
  'Faith without judgement merely degrades the spirit divine'

More information about the License-discuss mailing list