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GPL 3 and patents question
GPL 3 and patents question
27 Jan 2006 15:58:09 -0800
I try to understand what the patent clauses of the current GPL 3 draft
would mean for me.
Let's assume, that GPL 3 is finalized as is today, and that at that
time the country I live in - Switzerland - still does not allow patents
I write some software on my own, and because I live in Switzerland I do
not care about if what I write is infringing any patents in some other
countries. I decide to not keep the software for myself but rather make
it available to others by publishing it.
Q1: Can I use GPL 3 or would that force me to verify my software is
encumbered by patents to not violate myself the terms of the GPL 3, or
be forced to license the patent I would infringe outside of the place I
Q2: If answer to Q1 ist that I cannot use "vanilla" GPL 3, am I allowed
to add a clause through which I transfer the obligation to check for
patent infrigements and to apply for a patent licence to the user of my
Q3: If answer to Q2 ist, that I cannot transfer the obligation to check
for patents to the user, can I simply license the software under GPL 3
with the added clause, that someone may use the software only in places
which do not know about software patents?
In the preamble to the above three questions I assumed I write some
software totally on my own. But I could also start with some software
written by someone else which is already placed under the GPL 3 and
which yet does not infringe on any patents. Now I make some additions
and living in a place not knowing about software patents I do not care
to check whether my added code infringes on any patents which might
exist outside of Switzerland.
Q4: Am I allowed to do such modifications and redistribute the
software, or am I forced by the provisions of GPL 3 to either make sure
my modification does not infringe someones patents or license myself
Q5: If the answer to Q4 is that I am not allowed to do such
modficiations, but answer to Q2 says that I can transfer the obligtion
to check for patent infringements and licence the patent to the user,
am I then allowed to add such a clause to the licence of my modified
software even though the software I used as base did not have such a
Q6: If the answer to Q4 is that I am not allowed to do such
modficiations, but answers to Q3 says that I can limit the places where
the software can be used, am I then allowed to add such a clause to the
license of my modified software even though the software I used as base
did not have such a clause?
>From my understanding of GPL 3 I suspect The answers to Q2 (and thus
Q5) are that I am not allowed to do that. For the other questions I'm
unsure how to understand what the current draft says.
I appreciate any answers to my questions.
- GPL 3 and patents question,