Subject: Re: New angle on the patent problem
From: Bernard Lang <>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999 23:08:53 +0200

On Mon, Sep 13, 1999 at 02:06:23PM -0400, wrote:
> I would propose instead:
>      Your rights to copy, modify, and distribute ** any work
>      distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public
>      License [insert your license name here] ** terminate in
>      the event that you seek patent infringement action on any
>      **licensee** of the Covered Work.
> Explanation of changes:
> 1. Lose the whole class of anything ever distributed under the license (not just
> the Covered Work) if you pursue patent litigation.
> 2. Protection should not be restricted to developers -- end users are also
> licensees and should be protected.
> 3. Do not limit to "code".  There might be other content embodying patents.
> Actually, this wording has a side effect that I didn't intend but is kind of
> cute, which is that the scope of the restriction is not limited to the open
> source stuff.  If DarthVader Inc. pursues patent infringement on some unrelated
> random matter against an open source licensee, they lose their open source
> license.
> Jonathan S. Shapiro

Some remarks: no company will use software that is too broadly protected
   in sucgh a way ...  too risky

Going beyond software patents has no credibility. There a areas for
which patenting is essential, for example as the only mean to justify
the investments required to bring a product to market I am not talking
about software).

So anything that would prevent enforcing patents unrelated to the open
source product, especially non-software patents, would not be
sustainable, and makes no economic or other sense.

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