Subject: RE: Patent-based dual-licensing open source business model
From: simo <>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 12:56:50 -0400

On Wed, 2006-09-13 at 15:53 -0700, Lawrence Rosen wrote:

> > So you are not even considering a Covenant that covers only embodiment
> > in non free software?
> Nope, at least not yet. Given the game-playing that companies can do with
> free software, that doesn't capture enough commercial uses to make it
> profitable to us. We've heard that the conversion rate of dual-licensed
> software from free to commercial versions, even driven by strong copyleft
> licenses like GPL, is under 4% in many cases. You can't tell me that lots of
> deep-pocket commercial companies aren't getting a free ride on free
> software!

But the patent law is not really bound to a specific piece of code or
product (that's the terrific power they have). So you compare pears to
apples if you think only of dual licensed product success to determine
how successful your covenant would be.

Any use of your patent, independent of the code base is subject to your
terms. So even if a proprietary software company develops its own
implementation it is still bound to respect the Covenant.

This is the big difference in patent vs copyright and that's why I'd
consider more seriously a more Free Software friendly Covenant, you
still catch all the uses done in proprietary software of your patents.

And no, I don't think MS is going to make Windows or MS Office GPL just
to escape paying you royalties, as Cisco is not going to make IOS free
for the same reason.