[License-discuss] How licenses treat patents

John Cowan cowan at mercury.ccil.org
Mon May 5 05:34:25 UTC 2014

Lawrence Rosen scripsit:

> *         The FOSS license does not contain a patent license.

The issue appears to be whether there is a difference for OSI purposes
between licenses that withhold patent rights and those which are silent
about them.  My view is that there is not, but others disagree.

> There are many examples of patent-encumbered software where the
> copyright owner doesn't own and can't license the patent. This is
> the problem of third party patents and patent trolls and university
> professors and US government employees.

Inevitably so.  In the nature of patents, no one can claim to indemnify
a recipient against all possible patents.  At most we can ask that
the licensor himself license those which he has.

John Cowan          http://www.ccil.org/~cowan        cowan at ccil.org
A rabbi whose congregation doesn't want to drive him out of town isn't
a rabbi, and a rabbi who lets them do it isn't a man.    --Jewish saying

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