Subject: Re: New angle on the patent problem
From: Assaf Arkin <>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999 19:07:38 -0700

I believe I found a bug in the logic we're pursuing. (Once again, I'm
not a legal advisor)

A software license only applies to a piece of software, not a class of
software, and especially when dealing with patents.

Thus, if X claims patent infrignment in Emacs, the GNU license can
prevent X from using Emacs by termination of the copyright license, but
it cannot prevent X from using Linux, GCC, or other software distributed
under the exact same license.

If this issue came to a court, the court would rule that the FSF has
full right to prevent X from using Emacs while the suite is pending, but
that right cannot be extended beyond Emacs, or otherwise it would
violate the spirit of the patent protection law.

Thus, by interpreting patent law based on the spirit of the law, the
limitation will be reduced to a single piece of software.


"Karsten M. Self" wrote:
> Brian Bartholomew wrote:
> >
> > > a mutually aggreeable royalty
> >
> > What happens when Developer and BigCo can't agree on the royalty?
> The license terminates.
> The patent claiment must either cease exercising the rights granted by
> the license, or face infringement of copyright and patent licenses
> granted by the license.  Under US copyright law, civil and/or criminal
> penalties may apply.
> --
> Karsten M. Self (
>     What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
> SAS for Linux:
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Assaf Arkin                     
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