Defensive Patent License
The Defensive Patent License (DPL) is a proposed form of patent non-aggression pact.
The project is being worked on by Jason Schultz and Jennifer Urban, two law professors at UC Berkeley. It was first publicly discussed at a conference on 7 May 2010 and version 1.0 was released in 2012 or 2013.
None of the details are finalised, but points being discussed include:
- Member companies would have to commit all their patents. Not just a chosen set, not just the patents of one department/affiliate of the company. (This aspect is still the subject of a lot of discussion)
- Members give all other members an irrevocable licence to freely use their patents.
- Members can leave, but this would not cancel the licences already granted during their membership.
Still permits aggression against "clones"
As Richard Stallman pointed out in January 2014:
The "defensive patent license" ought to be called the "still offensive patent license", because of the exclusion of anything it calls a "clone" — which is itself dishonest, since it the way they define it, it includes a lot more than clones. It includes any similar functionality.
Apple could license its patents this way and still use them against free software smart phones.
Related pages on ESP Wiki
- DPL home page
- LWN.net article, discusses the DPL from the 9th paragraph onward, 30 Apr 2010
- The Defensive Patent License makes patents less evil for open source, 7 May 2010
- By Florian Mueller: