[IPOL discuss] Patents and IPOL code

Pascal Getreuer getreuer at gmail.com
Tue Apr 5 21:15:42 CEST 2011

> As far as I know, patents and free software are full incompatible.
> If an algorithm is patented and its distribution isn't not legal then you
> can't change that fact by re-licensing it. No free software license is
> applicable in that case.

Yes, I believe that is right, we are unable to apply a free license to
code implementing a patented algorithm (even if we wrote the code
ourselves).  Instead, we need the right careful language for
explaining that the code implements a patented algorithm, that it
therefore cannot be redistributed or used commercially, and that
IPOL's distribution is intended for academic purposes.

What I am suggesting is that all code in a project related to a patent
is refactored into its own separate files, and that a distinction is
made between patent-related files and all other files in a project.

We warn that for those files implementing the patent, "redistribution
or commercial use is not allowed without the consent
of the patent owner."  The "license" on these files is whatever the
patent owner would allow you to do, i.e., to try the code privately.

Then we say BSD or GPL license applies to all files in the project
*except* those that implement a patent:
"With the exception of the files implementing the patent mentioned
above, ... (BSD/GPL license)"


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