[License-discuss] patent rights and the OSD

Christopher Sean Morrison brlcad at mac.com
Tue Mar 7 13:30:53 UTC 2017

> On Mar 7, 2017, at 4:08 AM, Gervase Markham <gerv at mozilla.org> wrote:
> On 06/03/17 23:41, Christopher Sean Morrison wrote:
>> From my reading, a patent gives the holder the right to exclude
>> others from (a) making, (b) using, (c) selling, or (d)
>> importing/exporting their invention.  The OSD clauses refer to “the
>> distribution terms” in rather license- and copyright-agnostic terms,
>> so here’s my basic layman analysis:
>> 1) Exclusion (a) seems not problematic for the OSD as it precludes
>> others outside of licensing. 2) Certainly a problem in the broad
>> sense, but exclusion (b) seems not problematic with the OSD.
> <blink> Are you saying that a prohibition on using the software is not
> an OSD problem?

It left me blinking too.  Which OSD clause requires the distribution terms to permit use?

In the generic sense, one might argue that not having usage rights restricts (everyone) “from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor” per OSD #6.  However, that seems like a stretch since not having a patent grant prevents use indiscriminately in *all* fields of endeavor.  There’s similar indiscriminate prohibition in #5 too.

I’ll be happy to be corrected, but it seems to me as though the OSD criteria does not speak to using the software.   


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