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From "Noel J. Bergman" <n...@devtech.com>
Subject RE: CCLA: "by combination" language
Date Mon, 05 Jun 2006 00:26:03 GMT

> Geir Magnusson Jr wrote:
>> Noel J. Bergman wrote:
>>> As far as I'm concerned, you either contribute to Open Source or
>>> you don't.  If you contribute to Open Source, the patent rights
>>> are granted to all versions and derivative works.  People should
>>> be able to repurpose contributions as they see fit.
>> Doesn't that mean that effectively the patent is licensed for any use,
>> any purpose as I can perform "software homeopathy" on any bit of code
>> and eventually transform through a series of derivative works into
>> anything else?

> This is the crux of the issue in this thread: which of a contributor's
> patents are licensed by contributions.  Several have noted that the
> CCLA language is unclear on this point.

The language says:

  [...] such license applies only to those patent claims licensable
  by You that are necessarily infringed by Your Contribution(s)
  alone or by combination of Your Contribution(s) with the Work to
  which such Contribution(s) were submitted.

The lawyers amongst us have said that the term "combination" has a very
specific, settled, meaning within the context of patent law.  As I
understand them, it does not mean that if you grant patents P(c) to
contribution C, and also hold patents P(i), that I can write infringing work
W(i), and by using your contribution C in W(i) gain grants to P(i).  Nor can
I modify C->C(i) and claim that you have granted P(i) to the derivative work

With luck the EU will resolve the matter for us (q.v.

	--- Noel

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