Proposed new OSD item - patent termination

Bruce Perens bruce at
Sat Apr 9 13:49:32 UTC 2005

This provision doesn't seem to be in the general interest of Open Source 
software because it would prevent an Open Source license from 
terminating when patent action is brought regarding other Open Source 

I would much rather see it done the way Larry once proposed (which he 
should have stuck with IMO), which was that if you brought a patent 
action regarding any software with an Open Source license, the licenses 
for other Open Source software would terminate. Larry backed down on 
this because of opposition from HP. Given the way that IBM and HP, 
purportedly our friends, are lobbying for increases in software 
patenting that will do serious damage to Open Source, we need to think 
about this sort of defense.

In addition, the patent policies we generally are able to negotiate with 
standards organizations include the sort of reciprocity that you object 
to below. The grants to make royalty-free use of patents in the 
implementation of a standard terminate if the other party brings a 
patent suit.

In general, nobody wants to make a patent grant to a party that is 
bringing patent suits against them.



Matthew Garrett wrote:

>No copyright license termination on unrelated patent action
>The copyright license must not terminate if patent action unrelated to
>the licensed software is initiated against the licensor.
>The APSL contains a term that terminates the entire license if you
>initiate patent action against Apple. Apple manufacture hardware - if
>they infringe a hardware patent I hold, I'm not able to sue them if I
>want to carry on using any software they produced. Open source licenses
>shouldn't restrict my rights to perform reasonable acts (such as sue a
>hardware manufacturer for patent infringement).

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