Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 17th Jul 2011 20:58 UTC, submitted by fran
Linux It's strange. Microsoft has been patent trolling the heck out of the Linux kernel for a long time now, and is still using these patents against Android today in its protection money scheme. However, as LWN.net illustrates, Microsoft makes quite a few contributions to the Linux kernel. Shouldn't this invalidate their patent claims?
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Patents
by malxau on Sun 17th Jul 2011 21:24 UTC
malxau
Member since:
2005-12-04

Shouldn't this invalidate their patent claims?


The Linux kernel is licensed under GPLv2.

GPLv2 does contain a clause to ensure redistributors do not obtain a patent license that cannot be reapplied to every user receiving a copy.

It does not contain the GPLv3 patent license requirements (section 11) that are applied to contributors. Those provisions are attempting to give effect to what you describe, where a contributor must implicitly be granting a patent license to any applicable patents they hold that would cover their contribution.

Notwithstanding that, if a GPLv3-style patent license did exist covering the Linux kernel as a result of contributions, it does not mean that any patent claims over a larger work (eg. Android) would entirely be invalidated; only those relating to the kernel contributions. Many of the patents being argued about are much higher level than that.

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