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

Tzeng, Nigel H. Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu
Wed Mar 8 15:18:23 UTC 2017


To give them a more concrete example (hopefully not a flawed one ☺) I skimmed ARLs patent portfolio.  

Using US7460689B1 System and method of detecting, recognizing, and tracking moving targets as an example it could be useful to have an open source copyright license to any USG developed MTI implementation of US7460689B1 because the libraries and functions used to implement the patent could be reusable.  While a lot of the basic functions may exist today in GDL or SciPy the underlying image processing, change map creation, math, etc may have been reusable outside of the context of US7460689B1 and of greater interest to the software community when most of those capabilities were only widely available in systems like Matlab or IDL. 

Even more so the software components required to interface with Army systems that would have to be built around any operational MTI system.  Getting access to source code from another government agency/DoD program isn’t always as painless as one might expect.

While these could be broken out and individually open sourced it is an additional burden on the Army/DoD Program and it simply may not get done.  It would be far easier for the program to open source the entire system with the note that US7460689B1 and others apply to these 4 subsystems and care must be applied to any reuse of those components.

I’m also curious of their opinion on the impact of the policy to give away all software patents to Executive Order 10096 and the intent that individual government researchers have the opportunity to benefit from their inventions.  Is there reason that software inventors should have less financial opportunity than hardware inventors?

What safeguards exist or will exist for the USG inventor that an unrelated ARL or DoD project will not open source code that unknowingly implements their patent and provide a free patent grant?  What happens to the entity that may have contracted for an exclusive patent license agreement for that patent through their technology transfer office? Will the office responsible for approving ARL open source releases with patent grants be able to review source code applicability to not just ARL patents but those from the NRL or DOE?

There is a reason I favor the patent grant language in the Educational Community License v2.0 for GOSS and large research organizations.



ObDis:  Not speaking for the lab.

On 3/8/17, 9:36 AM, "License-discuss on behalf of Karan, Cem F CIV USARMY RDECOM ARL (US)" <license-discuss-bounces at opensource.org on behalf of cem.f.karan.civ at mail.mil> wrote:

    I can pass it through ARL's lawyers, as well as pass it to the code.gov 
    Cem Karan
    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: License-discuss [mailto:license-discuss-bounces at opensource.org] On 
    > Behalf Of Stephen Kellat
    > Sent: Tuesday, March 07, 2017 10:41 PM
    > To: license-discuss at opensource.org
    > Subject: Re: [License-discuss] [Non-DoD Source] Re: patent rights and the 
    > OSD
    > All active links contained in this email were disabled.  Please verify the 
    > identity of the sender, and confirm the authenticity of all links
    > contained within the message prior to copying and pasting the address to a 
    > Web browser.
    > ----
    > 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
    > > Caution-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
    > GS-0962-07/1
    > These views are solely my own and not those of the US Government.  Rank, 
    > position, grade, and bureau are cited for identification
    > purposes only.
    > _______________________________________________
    > License-discuss mailing list
    > License-discuss at opensource.org
    > Caution-https://lists.opensource.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/license-discuss

More information about the License-discuss mailing list