Given that a software patent can be implemented in different ways, languages and platforms then what are the license requirements of the implemented pieces of software?

Is it possible that the patent owner releases an open source implementation or this would necessary invalid the patent rights because open source licenses grant freedom of use, distribution and modification?

Since Apache License allows to distribute derivative works under a proprietary license, then is it compatible with the patent rights to build an implementation of the patent software as a derivative work from a piece of software released under Apache license? What about the mandatory copyright notices?

Is there a difference in this regard if instead of a derivative work as a whole an extension module is released? In this case the proprietary module wouldn't work without the Apache license parent application, but isn't it almost the same when somebody releases a proprietary application in PHP (the application wouldn't work without the under running open source PHP interpreter)?

What is the best license to release an implementation of a software patent to not interfere with patent protection?

  • If a person allowed to grant licenses grants an open license on some part or the complete scope than that part would still be protected, but at the same time licensed to everyone who uses it according to the open license. So the protection would basically be nullified. I guess there is no "best license", just make sure that you are okay with losing the (part of) protection that you give away as an open license and check what part that is before doing so. – DonQuiKong Dec 14 '16 at 20:27
  • 1
    Maybe its just me, but this question seems to mix licensing and patents together in an almost incomprehensible way. Software patents aren't language specific. – Eric Shain Mar 22 '17 at 2:17
  • A patent could have claim wording that restricts it to a particular s/w environment or language. A quick search shows about 5000 with the word "java" in a claim. Example - "18. The computer system according to claim 11, wherein the browser plug-in, the terminal service and/or the control agent can be implemented by any one of VNC, Windows remote desktop, XWindows or Java technologies." – George White Jun 13 '17 at 21:51
  • It may be worth noting that copyright does not cover "any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery" described in the original work of authorship -- those would be covered by patents, if any. 17 USC § 102(b). Having a copyright license is not the same as having a patent license. – Upnorth Jul 28 '17 at 21:28
  • @GeorgeWhite Your example claim is a dependent claim. My guess is the referenced independent claim doesn't specify the language. – Eric Shain Nov 28 '17 at 2:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.