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

Stephen Kellat smkellat at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 8 03:41:07 UTC 2017

On Mar 7, 2017, at 10:08 PM, Tzeng, Nigel H. <Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu> wrote:
> 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.
> _______________________________________________
> License-discuss mailing list
> License-discuss at opensource.org
> https://lists.opensource.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/license-discuss

After a less than fabulous day at work for IRS dealing with my tiny corner of tax law as well as my accounts work, I am tempted after reading this.  Perhaps this could be used as well as the rest of this thread as pre-decisional input to open a tight Inquiry in the Federal Register.  That's the first step we can take to move into building a formal record for a body of law.  Alternatively getting something chartered under the Federal Advisory Committees Act might help move this forward.

I think the debate has dragged on a bit for more than a few months.  Moving to where desirable federal policy/policies are adopted is probably doable.  Could we narrow this down to 3 or fewer courses of action that might be explored by ARL counsel in an inquiry notice?  Even if list participants are the only people that respond to a notice in the Federal Register we're still building a useful record for later use such as Federal Acquisition Rules changes, for example.

Depending upon what shows up in the President's budget set to drop Monday, I either will have a lot of time on my hands coming up or an ICTAP certificate plus lots of time on my hands.  I want to see Federal OSS policy evolve.  We have laid the groundwork here but need to get it in the official record soon.

Stephen Michael Kellat 
These views are solely my own and not those of the US Government.  Rank, position, grade, and bureau are cited for identification purposes only.

More information about the License-discuss mailing list