To point 1) If a patent owner who contributes to an Apache project wants to notify people of the existence of those patents then they can do so through a contribution to our documentation. Nothing is stopping that. We do not need to have a policy to enforce it and thus add yet more overhead to our PMCs.
To point 2) independent implementations are not the concern of the ASF.
To point 3) We never knowingly infringe on a patent and so this is meaningless. This fact is stated all over our mailing lists and quite possibly our website too. If it would be helpful we could have a clear and explicit statement in our policy docks to the effect that “either (1) have a FOSS license to it, or (2) in our early but serious view we don't believe we infringe” with the addition of “on any patents”.
A great question has been asked:
> Why should we need to enumerate patent contributions?
We own no patents and, as has repeatedly been pointed out, our ALv2 license itself already includes a generous patent grant for use and aggregation.
There are at least three other good reasons for us to enumerate patent contributions to ASF:
1. A patent owner can obtain infringement damages only from the date of such a notice. 35 USC 287(a). The patent owner probably wants to have its patents enumerated to protect its own financial interests in that patent.
2. While certain patent claims have been licensed to ASF under a FOSS license and then to the world under ALv2, there may be other claims in those patents or (non-derivative) independent implementations that aren't FOSS-licensed. Take notice.
3. This notice is ASF's defense to willful blindness or willful infringement in an inducing patent infringement case. It asserts that we know of the patent and either (1) have a FOSS license to it, or (2) in our early but serious view we don't believe we infringe.
"If this were legal advice it would have been accompanied by a bill."
On Wed, Jun 3, 2015 at 4:09 AM, Geir Magnusson Jr. <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
As a bystander, I'm confused.
My understanding is that the patent language in the AL is designed to moot the need for this kind of discussion.
Keeping it short, contributors provide a patent license for *any* of their patents held by those contributors that would be infringed.
Why would we even want to try to get an enumerated list correct up front (and maintain it)?
that's exactly why I'm conflicted...
we don't enumerate copyright contributions. Why should we need to enumerate patent contributions?
I can counter this with the fact that every commit message had better provide appropriate authorship attribution [although, you can't clarify from the commit whether the committer or their employer owns the copyright to the commit, granted.]
There is no such transparent vehicle for patents. What would you (or others) suggest?