Proposed new OSD item - patent termination

Bruce Perens bruce at
Sat Apr 9 15:13:25 UTC 2005

Matthew Garrett wrote:

>You're saying that if Apple infringe my hypothetical patent on internal
>case airflow (developed after years of painstaking research in
>windtunnels), it's reasonable for me to lose the right to use their open
>source software if I sue them over it?
Think of it as a quid-pro-quo with items of value exchanged on both 
sides.  You refrain from asserting patent rights against them in 
exchange for the right to use, distribute, and modify some valuable 
software. If you aren't interested in taking part in an exchange of 
patent and copyright rights with them, nobody is forcing you to do so.

>it effectively gives the copyright holder carte blanche to violate as many of my patents as they want.
Actually, it doesn't. The license is not a covenant not to sue, it's 
simply a termination clause that will lose you some copyright rights. If 
that termination would be bad for your business, you are welcome to 
purchase Apple's software under a commercial license. They do offer one, 
and that license has a different quid-pro-quo not involving patent terms.

Now, say you were dealing with a business entity that refused to grant a 
commercial license, rather than Apple. You might really lose some 
copyright rights irrevocably in that case. And that is one of the costs 
that you must consider before bringing suit.



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