[License-discuss] Permissive but anti-patent license

John Funnell john at parabolaresearch.com
Fri Dec 21 09:54:23 UTC 2012

Dear all,

GPL v2 and v3 have anti-patent clauses that says, in effect, that if
anyone arranges a patent license for distribution of the code, they
have to arrange that license for all possible downstream recipients of
the code and derivatives.

I would like to take this one step further so that the anti-patent
clause covers use as well as distribution. I propose the license
below, a BSD derivative.

The aim, like GPL, is to drive a wedge between the software patent
business and open software and the hope is to encourage the
neutralisation (i.e. licensing for all) of critical patents that
threaten popular free software.

I am aware that the clause proposed only covers third-party patents:
it might be worth rewording or including a clause to cover patents
owned by the user/re-distributor themselves.

I hope this makes sense. Please let me know if (a) there is an
existing license that does this and (b) whether this would qualify as
true open source.

Best regards,

John Funnell

Copyright (c) <year>, <copyright holder>
All rights reserved.

Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without
modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

    [ three standard new-BSD conditions not shown here]

    * No patents are licensed from any third party in respect of
      redistribution or use of this software or its derivatives unless the
      patent license is arranged to permit free use and distribution by all.

THIS SOFTWARE IS... [standard BSD disclaimer not shown here]

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