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View Full Version : Microsoft's patents unenforceable when SUSE ships under GPL3


Wilbert
19th May 2007, 13:14
I saw the following story on / (http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/19/0055252&threshold=1). and Groklaw (http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070518124020691):

"In a recent article in the Seattle Post Intelligencer FSF General Council Eben Moglen points out that the Microsoft SUSE coupons have no expiration date. The result? 'Microsoft can be sure that some coupons will be turned into Novell in return for software after the effective date of GPL 3. Once that has happened, patent defenses will, under the license, have moved out into the broad community and be available to anybody who Microsoft should ever sue for infringement.' Groklaw is also covering the story in it's inimitable way."

The corresponding patent clause in GPL3 says:
11. Patents.
(...)
If, pursuant to or in connection with a single transaction or arrangement, you convey, or propagate by procuring conveyance of, a covered work, and grant a patent license providing freedom to use, propagate, modify or convey a specific copy of the covered work to any of the parties receiving the covered work, then the patent license you grant is automatically extended to all recipients of the covered work and works based on it.
Of course this holds only for the parts that will distributed under the GPL3 ...

Like Johan Cruijff always says, every disadvantage has its advantages (and vice versa). It looks like something good came out of the Novel-Microsoft deal.