Proposed new OSD item - patent termination

Matthew Garrett mjg59 at
Sat Apr 9 13:54:30 UTC 2005

On Sat, 2005-04-09 at 14:36 +0200, Arnoud Engelfriet wrote:

> The more common situation I think is that the whole license terminates
> if you sue a contributor for patent infringement regarding
> the licensed software. Perhaps it would be wise to say something
> about that explicitly.

I tend towards thinking that that's acceptable behaviour, though I don't
have a very strong explanation as to why I think that. People obviously
feel that this level of patent termination is fairly important - it's
pretty common in current licenses.

> Examples are the OSL and the Mozilla Public License. The latter
> also terminates the patent license if you sue over "any
> [other] software, hardware, or device". What about that?

I think this is more difficult. The OSD doesn't require that a license
give you a patent grant in the first place (BSD is an obvious example of
one that doesn't do anything related to patents). Effectively,
terminating a patent license just turns the license into one that didn't
grant you a patent in the first place. If that license would be OSD
compliant, I don't see any real way to argue that that sort of clause is

Matthew Garrett | mjg59 at

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