Patents, MSPL, and the Apache 2.0 License

by chromatic

I've had software patents on my mind for several years. After listening to my colleage Allison Randal work on the Artistic License 2.0 for several years, I've finally noticed that other updated OSI-compatible licenses deal with software patents in two ways.

One is an implicit patent grant for receipients of the software. The other is some form of patent protection for receipients of the software. (It's difficult to create a penalty for acting in an anti-social way regarding patents other than to nullify some portion the license for the offendor, in which case standard copyright law applies, but it can be an effective deterrent.)

It's interesting to compare, for example, the Microsoft Permissive License to the Apache 2.0 License, with regard to software patents.