Proposed new OSD item - patent termination

Brian C brianwc at
Sat Apr 9 14:35:40 UTC 2005

While the earliest version of APSL was rejected by both the OSI and FSF,
Apple's subsequent changes to the license have satisfied both groups.

Earlier Complaints:
by OSI members:
by the FSF:

Subsequent Acceptance of APSL 2.0:

As others have mentioned, using similar terms as a patent defense for
free software could be a strong defense for the community. If, for
instance, bringing a patent infringement suit against a free software
developer terminated the plaintiff's licenses to a large amount of free
software, this could be such a strong deterrent that almost no one would
bring such a suit.

There would be other concerns about such a proposal and the details
would matter, but closing the door to such a defense before thinking
about it from this side too would be rash. I will say though that I
might agree with the heart of your point, I'd just like to see
"unrelated" defined adequately. I think that would be difficult.

Brian Carver

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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