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From Rob Weir <...@robweir.com>
Subject Re: Proposal: Disclosure of patents by Apache projects
Date Thu, 04 Jun 2015 16:06:32 GMT
On Sun, May 31, 2015 at 5:43 PM, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net> wrote:

> On Sun, May 31, 2015 at 5:22 PM, Rich Bowen <rbowen@rcbowen.com> wrote:
> >
> > On May 31, 2015 4:54 PM, "Greg Stein" <gstein@gmail.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> On Sun, May 31, 2015 at 12:52 PM, Lawrence Rosen <lrosen@rosenlaw.com>
> >> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> ...
> >>
> >>> This means that an opinion that a patent is "just plain BS, IMHO," is
> not
> >>> a relevant opinion at this stage of determining infringement.
> >>>
> >>> As for patent validity, there is nobody at Apache who is qualified to
> >>> analyze that for others. The most ASF can do is to disclose what we are
> >>> aware of in a NOTICE file and let our customers do their own analysis
> if
> >>> they want to.
> >>
> >> Aren't we similarly unqualified to determine whether we infringe? I
> would
> >> say "yes", and I'm sure you would agree.
> >>
> >> Thus, to water out random claims of infringement from random developers,
> >> we must wait until the patent holder *informs* us that we (likely)
> infringe.
> >> Until the patent holder wants to assert that, then I don't think we're
> >> qualified to make *any* judgement, including whether it is
> >> important/relevant to provide notice.
> >
> > Forgive my ignorance, but, surely, if we are aware that we infringe,
> > wouldn't we be compelled to rectify that situation before making another
> > release?
>
> Our policy indeed is that "We never knowingly incorporate patented
> technology in our own products unless such technology has been offered
> free for everyone."[1]
>
>
So what about patent claims necessarily infringed in the implementation of
a standard by an Apache project, where the patent holder has agreed to a
royalty free license for implementors of that standard?   I hope we
consider that to be sufficiently "free for everyone" even though it is not
necessarily free for anyone outside of implementers of that standard.

-Rob



> As to what we do when we are made aware of a potential infringement:
> we (through our VP of Legal Affairs) will seek advice from counsel as
> to how to proceed.
>
> > This whole conversation seems to assume that we would, at any point,
> make a
> > release while being aware of an infringement, which should never happen.
>
> - Sam Ruby
>
> [1] https://www.apache.org/licenses/GPL-compatibility.html
>
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