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From "Lawrence Rosen" <lro...@rosenlaw.com>
Subject RE: Apache license 2.1 and 2.2?
Date Fri, 30 Mar 2007 14:56:17 GMT
Several months ago, MIT submitted the Broad Institute Public License to OSI
for approval. It contained a patent provision dealing with this supposed
problem that universities have of knowing whether or not they've licensed
their patents exclusively to third parties such that they could not also
license the patents for open source purposes.

Their proposed license demonstrated that it is possible for a patent grant
to be crafted that is utterly worthless to open source recipients. The Broad
license was not approved. I personally don't believe that licensees should
bear the risk of a patent grant being suddenly withdrawn for
already-distributed software when MIT (or another university) suddenly
remembers that it already gave the patent away. I suggested that they solve
the problem in one of two ways:

1. Get their act together. Understand their patent portfolios and know what
they are licensing. That's what big companies have to do, and if they fail
to do so they risk that they will give away something they don't want to
give away or have already given away. I believe that universities should
remain responsible for their licensing actions.

2. Let individual faculty rather than the university own their own patents.
In that case, a license from a faculty member will necessarily not include
patents he/she doesn't own. Many non-US institutions do it that way. It is
only $$$ that is preventing MIT and other universities from adopting such
generous IP policies for their faculty.

They dropped their license approval effort.

/Larry

P.S. Personal opinion again: Don't change the Apache license to solve this
administrative and policy problem at big universities.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ross Gardler [mailto:rgardler@apache.org]
> Sent: Friday, March 30, 2007 6:09 AM
> To: legal-discuss@apache.org
> Subject: Re: Apache license 2.1 and 2.2?
> 
> William A. Rowe, Jr. wrote:
> 
> ...
> 
> > I'm just not seeing 1. how the work of academic institutions differ from
> > for profit corporations with large patent portfolios
> 
> I've thought about this a little, and can give two potential differences
> (remember I was not at the summit so I do not represent the views of the
> universities present).
> 
> 1. most universities do research that cover a much wider range of topics
> than even the largest profit corporations
> 
> 2. they are often funded by third parties, the terms of this funding
> involves pre-existing patent agreements. These agreements may mean that
> company X are in a position to enforce a patent which in turn would make
> University Y a party to that action even if they do not agree with that
> action.
> 
> I should point out that this group, as I understand it, do not object to
> the patent clauses intent, only with the execution of that clause.
> 
> Now I really am talking about stuff I don't understand, so I'm going to
> wait for Cliff to tell me just how close/far off the mark I am with the
> above comments (remember Cliff heard these concerns first hand).
> 
> Ross
> 
> 
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DISCLAIMER: Discussions on this list are informational and educational
only.  Statements made on this list are not privileged, do not
constitute legal advice, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions
and policies of the ASF.  See <http://www.apache.org/licenses/> for
official ASF policies and documents.
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