Subject: Re: termless copyright and patents
From: s <s@ssimo.org>
Date: Mon, 02 Oct 2006 23:26:09 -0400

On Mon, 2006-10-02 at 20:25 -0700, Thomas Lord wrote:
> I can't make heads or tails of your comment.
> 
> GPLv3 is very much a patent covenant yet you say that 
> GPLv2 and GPLv3 are the same with respect to patents
> and that GPL is not a patent covenant.   So.... you seem
> confused, on the face of this comment.
> 
> Perhaps you should try to elaborate and clarify?

I've been too synthetic :-(

I meant that the purpose of the GPL is not to be a patent covenant.

Also it is believed that the GPLv2 has an implicit patent clause, and
that the GPLv3 makes it explicit primarily because the implicit patent
clauses of the GPLv2 may not be considered implicit in other countries.

The extent of the GPLv2 implicit patent clause and that of the explicit
GPLv3 should be more or less the same.


I'd also like to say that even without a patent clause the situation
would be the same. If you infringe a patent the patent holder can sue
you. So at least with the GPLv3 the distributor(s) are giving you an
explicit permission to use their patent and this prevent them from suing
you.
It is true that this protection is probably not perfect and it does not
protect you from patents in the hands of others that do not distribute
the software. But I think the GPLv3 reach the best compromise in what
can be considered acceptable without falling into "expropriation".

Simo.