Let's say you wanted to file for a patent and wanted to allow anyone who uses the patent for personal, hobbyist, and non-commercial use and defining non-commercial to mean that manufacture to sales direct without permission from the patent holder is not permissible. From what I understand, there doesn't seem to be a way to have a gratis method of allowing this without an agreed license between the patent holder and everyone wanting to use the patent. It seems like the most you could do would be an artificial statement that "guarantees" that the patent holder will not sue anyone who uses under these terms, but is this binding?

In case I didn't make this clear, I'm just trying to see if there is a way to allow people to use a patent a certain way without them needing to contact the patent holder or them having to worry about being sued because of technicalities regarding infringing on patent rights.

  • It's up to the patent holder to assert their rights. If you just state you won't, that should be enough.
    – Eric S
    Apr 19 '19 at 16:40
  • If you assert that you won't, could you change your mind without notice at any time in the future before the patent expires? Could there be legal consequences to this?
    – Yetoo
    Apr 20 '19 at 4:34
  • Yes, that's part of the issue with merely giving a verbal "we wont sue you" because that's an extremely vague statement. If you look at some of the "Patent Pledges", you will see they've carved out specific parties/purposes for the pledge.
    – Chris
    Apr 20 '19 at 6:16
  • @Yetoo I should have stated “assert in writing”.
    – Eric S
    Apr 20 '19 at 12:11

Of course there's a way to pledge certain of your rights in the patent to other parties.

Also note that how you pledge your rights to other parties is completely separate from obtaining the patent, patent quality, etc.

Take a look at how other companies have pledged certain rights to the patents:

IBM: IBM Statement of Non-Assertion of Named Patents Against OSS https://www.ibm.com/ibm/licensing/patents/pledgedpatents.pdf

Tesla: Patent Pledge https://www.tesla.com/about/legal (scroll down to "Patent Pledge")

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