Subject: Re: Patent prior art database
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: Thu, 03 Jul 2008 16:28:53 +0900

Don Marti writes:
 > begin Thomas Lord quotation of Wed, Jul 02, 2008 at 01:49:47PM -0700:
 > 
 > > I also suggest, if you're talking about software, considering
 > > Mr. Rosen's OSL (Open Source License).   It has OSI approval.
 > > It has FSF approval.   Nevertheless, it theoretically gives you
 > > ways to still make licensing money off of your invention!  IMO
 > > it is a terribly under-appreciated license.
 > 
 > What makes OSL different?

I think Tom is confusing the OSL, which is a software license that
contains a patent license, with a certain "covenant" that is
effectively a public (pure) patent license (ie, the licensor hasn't
necessarily written, let alone distributed, any software).

 > Can't you dual-license with any reciprocal license, MySQL-style?

The point is that once you've used the GPL or the OSL, you have
granted a patent license to certain claims embodied in your software.
Dual-licensing doesn't allow you to restrict the use of those claims.

Now, since software patents are a much more powerful franchise than
copyright, I suppose you're at much greater risk.

 > Sounds like there's a market for an Open Disclosure Journal -- a
 > print publication that would accept properly formatted disclosures
 > (to save editor pay) from paying subscribers, and send free
 > subscriptions to university libraries and patent offices.

Unfortunately, only the patent office matters until such time as the
courts and/or Congress tell the examiners to look outside the USPTO
database.  There is nothing in law that forbids an examiner from doing
a search for prior art on SourceForge or Savannah ... they just
don't.  Nor does prior art need to be "properly formatted", except
that the examiners are probably more likely to read and understand it
if it is well-written.