[License-review] Approval: BSD + Patent License

Jim Wright jim.wright at oracle.com
Fri Jan 15 17:20:00 UTC 2016

McCoy, I applaud your efforts here.  A few questions in no particular order:

 - If a patent claim has some parts of a device or method in hardware and some in software, is the intent of stating that hardware per se is not licensed here that it not be covered?  (While some have concluded CC0 is GPL compatible even with an express reservation of patent rights, in my mind, the idea of expressly reserving some patent rights that may actually cover the software as combined with HW on which it runs is curious.)

 - I note you make the patent license irrevocable - how do you intend this to interact with the conditional nature of the copyright license?  The wording strikes me as interesting here, because you provide that anyone exercising copyright rights under the license is the beneficiary of an irrevocable patent license grant - but what if the party exercising copyright rights is also breaching the license in another context (e.g., providing attribution for one use but not another).  The way I read it, the party is exercising copyright rights under the license, and therefore all their activities benefit from the patent license, potentially even if out of compliance in other contexts…?  

 - Vis-a-vis Carlo’s question, and Richard’s, I might go further - does a recipient get, or not get, patent rights from a downstream redistributor under the license, since a redistributor is arguably neither a contributor nor a copyright holder here?

 - This one will not be popular but some have actually questioned the idea of the BSD license’s GPL compatibility (vs., e.g., MIT).  Would it be useful to add sublicense or other rights for certainty in this regard?

Oh, and Josh, McCoy can answer for this new proposed license, but as to the UPL, we considered this, and I think we would take the position that A is a licensor having provided the software under the UPL of X+Y, and therefore has granted that patent license to “anyone obtaining a copy of” X+Y.  (We can discuss offline if you like in order to avoid bogging down the discussion of McCoy’s proposal.)


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