[Mono-list] problems with relicensing

Christian Ratliff cratliff@lily.org
Wed, 9 Jan 2002 08:17:16 -0500


  The patent issue arises in the '_any_ adverse ownership interest'
phrase of section 6(a). This is greater than simple copyright assertion.
The case am I most familiar with is the issuance of a patent for online
digital mapping, long after many mapping sites were active. The receiver
proceeded to sue several companies using the patent (Microsoft, DeLorme,
etc). Such a patent is clearly 'adverse ownership interest' in the
online digital mapping arena. Say I worked on the Web farms code, and
then Microsoft gains a patent on Web farms and decides to come after
Ximian over it. If they win, then I am liable under the "work for hire"
terms of the agreement.

  The point being that I cannot spend my time doing patent searches
before committing code just to protect myself from liability in future
lawsuits. If you want to make section 6(a) more explicit about the
ownership interest being copyright only, that would be wonderful.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Miguel de Icaza [mailto:miguel@ximian.com] 
> Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2002 5:33 PM
> To: Christian Ratliff
> Cc: mono-list@ximian.com
> Subject: RE: [Mono-list] problems with relicensing
> >   My only trouble with the copyright assignment was section 
> 6(a). In 
> > the world of bogus patent grants, and we do live in that world, I 
> > cannot easily know if my work can subject Ximian to a suit. As an 
> > individual copyright owner, I am not an attractive target 
> for a large 
> > corporation seeking to assert its patent rights. However, 
> as part of 
> > the Mono runtime, which I did want to contribute to but 
> declined after 
> > reading 6(a), I am part of a much larger, more attractive 
> target. If 
> > some third party gains a bogus patent similar to work I do 
> for Ximian, 
> > an event I can easily imagine, then suddenly I have agreed to 
> > compensate Ximian should it not prevail in the suit.
> Ok, I went and got a copy of the copyright assignment form.  
> Section 6.a does not talk about patents, it talks about you 
> stating that you are the copyright holder (ie, you are giving 
> us permission to use *your* code, you are not giving someone 
> else's rights to us).
> This is not related in any way to patents.  
> Miguel.