Proposed new OSD item - patent termination

Bruce Perens bruce at
Sat Apr 9 14:10:04 UTC 2005

Matthew Garrett wrote:

>BSD is an obvious example of one that doesn't do anything related to patents
There is an implicit patent grant in the BSD license. If you distribute 
software embodying your own patents with a license to make use of the 
software, you are effectively granting an estoppel regarding those 
patents. I suppose the estoppel might be limited to the practice of the 
patents as it is carried out in the software that you distributed, but 
given that you are also granting a license to modify the software, 
that's less clear.

>Effectively, terminating a patent license just turns the license into one that didn't grant you a patent in the first place.
In some cases, the copyright license, not just the patent grant, should 
terminate upon a software patent suit.

In his presentation on GPL 3 at the OSDL conference, Eben Moglen 
suggested that a better defense against software patents would be a goal 
of GPL 3. I would imagine this might take the form of a blanket 
termination of all GPL 3 software in response to a software patent 
lawsuit regarding GPL 3 software.



More information about the License-discuss mailing list