Proposed new OSD item - patent termination

Bruce Perens bruce at
Sat Apr 9 17:09:19 UTC 2005

Arnoud Engelfriet wrote:

>But in the APSL, the copyright license terminates over _any_
>patent suit. Not just a software patent suit. Is that still
In many cases.

1. Hardware patents can be enforced against software.

2. Hardware patents can be enforced against the critical infrastructure 
for an Open Source program. For example, I run GNU Radio, a 
software-defined-radio program. I have a Universal Software Radio 
Peripheral (USRP), which is a hardware device essential to making GNU 
Radio work for any bandwidth wider than what a sound card will handle. I 
want to protect the USRP against patents too, or GNU Radio is pretty 

3. We should be able to protect the OpenCores VLSI designs and other 
Open Source hardware designs. They are also potential hardware 
infrastructure for Open Source software. Someday the available 
off-the-shelf PC hardware may be bound to Trusted Computing features 
that do not admit Open Source software. Thus, it's in our interest to 
preserve our own path for VLSI creation.

4. As you can infer from #2 and #3, the line between hardware and 
software is blurring. Thus, we are getting many purported hardware 
patents that are actually software patents.



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