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From Doug Cutting <cutt...@apache.org>
Subject Re: CCLA: "by combination" language
Date Wed, 24 May 2006 23:39:28 GMT
Jim Barnett wrote:
> But I think that there is another side to the issue.  Were Yahoo! not
> the contributor but rather a licensee for the project's output, wouldn't
> it trouble Yahoo if the combination patent license grant were limited to
> the project output as of the date of the contribution?  

In my opinion (not speaking for Yahoo!) this clause provides no 
guarantee of patent-free code.  There are many ways for patented 
technologies to enter into Apache code, and it is impossible to detect 
them without lawsuits.  So the goal of this should be to nullify blatant 
contributions of patented technologies.

I think the intent of this language is to say, "It's not kosher to 
contribute patented stuff and then sue folks over it."  It makes sense 
to enforce this when it is clearcut: if someone contributes something 
that they should reasonably have known they had a patent over, then they 
should be forced to license it freely.  But without the clarification, 
there's no reasonable way to know this, since others can modify the 
contributions after the fact to cause them to implement a patent.


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