RE: How can we submit code patches that implement our (pending) patents?

From: "Tsunakawa, Takayuki" <tsunakawa(dot)takay(at)jp(dot)fujitsu(dot)com>
To: 'Andres Freund' <andres(at)anarazel(dot)de>, Alvaro Herrera <alvherre(at)2ndquadrant(dot)com>
Cc: David Fetter <david(at)fetter(dot)org>, 'Craig Ringer' <craig(at)2ndquadrant(dot)com>, "pgsql-hackers(at)lists(dot)postgresql(dot)org" <pgsql-hackers(at)lists(dot)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: RE: How can we submit code patches that implement our (pending) patents?
Date: 2018-07-09 08:29:08
Message-ID: 0A3221C70F24FB45833433255569204D1FA47C96@G01JPEXMBYT05
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From: David Fetter [mailto:david(at)fetter(dot)org]
> We went out of our way to excise code that the PostgreSQL license
> doesn't cover some years back. I think that was done for good reasons,
> which obtain to this day. While the introduction of code someone else
> ultimately owns may seem harmless or even beneficial today, owners
> change, as do their motivations. When we have nothing of this kind in
> the project, we expose our future users to none of that risk.

From: Andres Freund [mailto:andres(at)anarazel(dot)de]
> Yep. And even if the original submitter has good intent, it's not
> unlikely for companies to go bancrupt and their assets sold off.

Thank you for supporting me, Andres. And please don't mind, David. I don't think you are attacking me. I understand your concern and that you are also trying to protect PostgreSQL.

On the other hand, I think TPL seems less defensive. I read in some report that Apache License and some other open source licenses were created partly due to lack of patent description in BSD and GPLv2.

How can we assure you? How about attaching something like the following to relevant patches or on our web site?

[Excerpt from Red Hat Patent Promise]
Red Hat intends Our Promise to be irrevocable (except as stated herein), and binding and enforceable against Red Hat and assignees of, or successors to, Red Hat’s patents (and any patents directly or indirectly issuing from Red Hat’s patent applications). As part of Our Promise, if Red Hat sells, exclusively licenses, or otherwise assigns or transfers patents or patent applications to a party, we will require the party to agree in writing to be bound to Our Promise for those patents and for patents directly or indirectly issuing on those patent applications. We will also require the party to agree in writing to so bind its own assignees, transferees, and exclusive licensees.

> > TBH I don't understand how can we dual-license the code in a manner that
> > protects those proprietary forks. Can you (Andres) explain what is the
> > idea?
> grants roughly the same
> rights as our license. But 3) additionally grants a patent license. That
> license is *not* restricted to the code in unmodified form. By
> requiring future contributions to be both under the pg license and
> apache 2, downstream users, including proprietary forks, can safely use
> code contributed in the future, without risk of patent mines.
> There are arguments made that TPL (and BSD, MIT etc) already includes an
> implicit patent grant, but while a longstanding theory, it's to my
> knowledge not legally been tested.

When we find a reasonable consensus here, I'd like to have our legal department write a patent grant statement, and then have it reviewed in this ML. Is the above statement of Red Hat's enough?

Takayuki Tsunakawa

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