Subject: Re: New angle on the patent problem
From: Bernard Lang <>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 22:02:21 +0200

On Tue, Sep 14, 1999 at 12:10:43PM -0700, Assaf Arkin wrote:
> That is not the question. The question is, if a license revokes a
> company's license to use software that it must use for conducting
> business, if that company claims that it has rights to a patent, then
> that license effectively hinders the company from filing a patent
> infrignment suite. If the software falling under this patent is broad
> enough, the license violates the right of the compnay to protect its
> patents.
> Imagine that you are a company investing $10M in a new patented
> application (not a bogus patent, a real, hard earned patent) and someone
> just reads the patnet application, writes the code and hides behind an
> open source license to give it away to the world. You cannot even sue
> them, because by doing so you have to shut down all your Web and e-mail
> servers. Does that seem logical?

So what ...

If anyone tries to bring such collective poison pills, no sane company
will use the software.

If it is a retroactive pill (as in your internet example), the the
company will have a good case in court, for entrapment. And I do not
even think one can retroactively change a licence... only for new
versions (since anyone who has an older version can redistribute under
the old licence).

But a licence is a licence. No one is forced. Same as for MS office,
though in practice people are forced to buy it. And companies have no
constitutional rights (or do they... a new twist). Isn't that for people.

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