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Blanket patent licences and promises

(Redirected from Patent promise)
See also: Non-aggression promise to employees. (These articles may get merged.)

A blanket licence is when a company gives a certain group of users/developers protection from all their patents. A fairly good example is Red Hat's promise not to use patents against free software users and developers. Other companies have made narrower promises that only grant protection from a small portion of their patent portfolio. Some promises are so narrow, they're probably useless and were probably just a publicity stunt.

What's good and bad

  • A "licence" is better than a "promise" or a "pledge". A "licence" has a solid definition and has been tested repeatedly in courts.
  • It's good when a licence (or promise) covers a company's entire patent portfolio, like Red Hat's.
  • It's bad when it only covers a selection, like Google's March 2013 pledge about 10 patents (from a company with 18,000 patents[1]).

Examples of company patent promises

Note: these are not examples of good promises, it's just a list which might be informative or which might help explain the issues involved.

Related pages on ESP Wiki

External links


  1. They had 1,200, then they bought Motorola which had a portfolio of 17,000

Law Antitrust law · Free software exception · Interoperability exception · Loser-Pays rule · Patent review by the public · Raising examination standards · Independent invention defense · Reducing patent duration
Litigation Invalidating harmful patents · Suing makers of unfounded accusations
Licenses Patent clauses in software licenses
Prior art Defensive publication and prior art databases
Company practice Buying harmful patents · Changing company patent policies · Defensive patent acquisition · Insurance against patent litigation · Non-aggression promise to employees · Patent non-aggression pacts · Blanket patent licences and promises