A 'Statement of Assurance' on SELinux patents
Posted Aug 7, 2002 22:29 UTC (Wed) by ejhuff
In reply to: A 'Statement of Assurance' on SELinux patents
Parent article: A 'Statement of Assurance' on SELinux patents
There was a fair amount of discussion on the SELinux mailing list.
See for example,
this message and replies on the SELinux list.
These are all old patents. They expire in a few years.
Publication / Filing / Likely expiration
US4713753 Dec. 15, 1987 / Feb. 21, 1985 / Feb. 21, 2005
US4621321 Nov. 4, 1986 / Feb. 16, 1984 / Feb. 16, 2004
US4701840 Oct. 20, 1987 / June 20, 1986 / June 20, 2006
Please note that the GPL does not required that patent licenses be explicit or irrevocable. I can distribute and use SELinux under the GPL until such time as some successor of SCC actually revokes the revocable patent license which SCC has implicitly granted.
It appears to me that SCC was paid a lot of money by the NSA to develop the initial implementation of SELinux. One would assume that the contract the NSA negotiated would include provision for a royalty-free patent license, but it might not require that SCC admit that it grants such a license.
this message on the SELinux list.
I claim SCC has in fact granted a royalty-free revocable license to use the patents with SELinux and derivative works under GPL (all that the GPL requires), but they would rather that everyone think they have not granted such a license. They don't want anyone to work on SELinux. They don't want anyone to use SELinux. They just want to keep the money the NSA paid them. To achieve these goals, they need to use FUD, but probably they can't actually revoke the license without first repaying the NSA.
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