For Approval: Broad Institute Public License (BIPL)

Matthew Seth Flaschen superm40 at
Thu Jul 13 16:40:00 UTC 2006

Russ Nelson wrote:
> Lawrence Rosen writes:
>  > If MIT refuses to grant a patent license for its software, then there is a
>  > possibility that MIT (or its faculty, researchers, graduate students, staff,
>  > etc.) will later claim royalties for the patents embodied in that software
>  > from the users of that open source software. Is it your intention to allow
>  > that? How is this at heart different from the Rambus licensing model?
> Maybe Larry understands the solution, but I'm not sure I understand
> the problem.  If MIT owns a patent, why is there any difficulty with
> granting a license to it?  If a license for open source users is a
> problem, then sooner or later you're going to get a pacifist who will
> object to military uses, or a vegetarian who will object to
> meat-packing uses.  If you think you have problems now, just try
> crossing a Quaker.
> It seems to me that the problem is that MIT's patent licensing system
> is broken, not that there is a problem with the MPL that needs fixing.

They provided an answer to this, though I don't think it's quite 
satisfactory either.  They are concerend that they might accidently 
include a patented algorithm in open-source code.  As you say, they 
could normally remedy this by licensing all relevant patents in the 
open-source license.  However, they fear that they may have agreed to an 
*exclusive* license for one of these patents, without knowing it.

Matthew Flaschen

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