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Re: The GPL and Patents: ROFL

From: Hyman Rosen
Subject: Re: The GPL and Patents: ROFL
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2010 16:00:29 -0000
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20100802 Thunderbird/3.1.2

On 8/20/2010 1:11 PM, RJack wrote:
Good. then we can stop all this software patent indemnity blather
with the GPL

If you wish to copy and distribute software which incorporates
patented processes under the GPL, you must arrange for all
downstream recipients to have the same rights to practice the
patent that you do when they further use, copy, and distribute
the software under the GPL. If the patents are your own, that's
simple. If they're not, that could be considerably complicated.

The point is to avoid the promissory estoppel that would result
from ostensibly distributing free software but actually having
that software be encumbered so that some users would not have the
freedom that the GPL is supposed to guarantee.

Note that the GPL does not actually require you to obtain rights
to patents practiced in the software. It only requires that all be
treated equally - you cannot copy and distribute the GPLed work of
others if you have arranged things so that some downstream recipients
have more rights to practice the patents than others.

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