Subject: Re: termless copyright and patents
From: simo <s@ssimo.org>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2006 08:49:15 -0400

On Thu, 2006-09-28 at 21:29 -0700, Thomas Lord wrote:
> You're right that I misunderstood section 11 of GPLv3, Simo,
> but the situation doesn't look that much better than what I described.
> 
> If a company distributes GPLed code then all of its "essential 
> patent claims" in that work are publicly available for any use
> in which they are embodied in a covered derivative of that work --
> which is not terribly limiting.

Again, it is not for "any" use. You cannot change a web server software
in a space shuttle auto-pilot and still claim it is the same thing.

> Moreover, suppose that an infringement is discovered which
> can be remedied by substituting a GPLed form of the infringing
> component.   Often that will be possible without the infringer
> giving up much at all and it won't cost much to do.   Such an
> infringement is then arguably "de minimis" and the patent
> holder's remedies may be sharply limited.

Naah, remedies are based on the damages done up to no. True perhaps if
the infringer can use the patent holder GPLed software than it will
escape future licensing, but if that's the case, then the infirnger, who
is not stupid, will use that GPLed software from start. 

> Holders of defensive portfolios, who distribute lots of GPLed
> code, are at interesting risk here: their defense stance is greatly
> weakened relative to other firms not distributing lots of GPLed
> code.

No, that's wrong again, the patents will not be available to
competitors, unless they use the patent holder GPLed program.
In my opinion they cannot escape patent claims even if they convert
their own competing program to the GPL, because it will not be a
derivative of the patent holder program.

There is not such thing as endangering the normal use of patents, for
patents holder.

The only thing patent holders will be banned to do will be to sue
competitors using the very software they themselves distribute, which is
a thing you expect also from any proprietary package contract anyway.

You don't expect to get sued for patent infringement from the company
that sold you the infringing software, and this is what the GPLv3
codify.

Simo.