[License-discuss] [Non-DoD Source] Re: patent rights and the OSD

Tzeng, Nigel H. Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu
Wed Mar 8 03:08:43 UTC 2017

You know the more I think about this, the disclaimer of patent rights in CC0 is probably best for GOSS because it avoids the attempt for a one size fit all patent grant language among different agencies with different policies and the complexity under which patent rights are awarded to whom under the Bayh-Dole Act and Executive Order 10096.

Employees of federal agencies, especially research oriented ones, have some financial interest and rights under 10096.

Likewise non-profits and small businesses under Bayh-Dole.

IMHO patent grant language in FOSS licenses provide a false sense of security.

I would rather the government open source as much as possible regardless of patent rights as long as any known patents are disclosed. As seen in Ximpleware v Versata the patents typically only cover a small portion of the overall system (VTD-XML). While it is relevant from the perspective of being able to use the system as built it is less relevant from a code reuse perspective.

For large government systems significant software components could often be reused without the specific portions covered under patent.

So just having a copyright license to the entire project would provide significant value to the community. There is code I wrote 30 years ago I'd love to get access to again even if I couldn't use the rest of the system.

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