Subject: Re: license with patent grants appropriate for specifications?
From: Chuck Swiger <>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 21:07:35 -0500

Lawrence Rosen wrote:
> Chuck,
> If I give you a license to walk along my beachfront property in Malibu, that
> doesn't mean you automatically get a license to walk along my beachfront
> property in Maui. Nor do you automatically get a license to walk along other
> people's beachfront property. [By the way, I don't really own any beachfront
> property; this is just a fantasy.] 

For the sake of example, understood.

> If I give you a license to use my patent to create standards-compliant
> software, you don't automatically get a license to create non-compliant
> software or a license to patents owned by third parties.

Certainly not.  One would not gain the right to redistribute patented software 
by mixing something proprietary with open source and then claiming the whole 
thing was open.

> Under open source and open standards rules and the practices of most
> standards organizations, patent holders don't expressly forbid you from
> creating non-compliant implementations of a standard, but neither must they
> license you to do so. 

No one is forced to release their software under the terms of the OSD.

Many OSD-approved licenses contain no real discussion about patent licensing 
at all, or do so only by implication (BSD, MIT, others).

Nor is Open Source immune to license obligations where prior art exists, 
either (eg, OpenSSL/OpenSSH & the RSA license which expired recently).

I acknowlege all of these cases exist: the right to redistribute patented 
software does not leap into existence, it is granted by the owner of the 
relevant patent rights.

All of this being said, when a patent-holder distributes software under an 
OSD-compliant license, what does OSD #1 & #3 require vis-a-vis the 
availability of a freely available patent license grant for derived works?

> Walk upon private property at your own risk.

Good advice, thank you, but honestly, that's not my issue:
I'm not interested in walking on private property.

My concern has more to do with people offering software in the guise of public 
property by claiming it is open, and then pulling a switcheroo and demanding 
royalties as if the software was private property.

We don't need more people playing the games Rambus did with JEDEC.