Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts


Shaobin Zhu


Free/Open Source Software (“FOSS”) licenses generally give developers and users the freedom to run software for any purpose, to study and modify software, and to redistribute copies of either the original or the modified software without paying royalties to previous developers. The FOSS community is facing increasing threats from software patents, especially from entities outside the FOSS community. This Article discusses patent rights under FOSS licenses, including the GNU General Public License (“GPL”) 2.0 and draft 3.0, the Apache License and the Mozilla Public License (“MPL”). It also addresses how current GPL draft 3.0 attempts to reconcile the conflict between software freedom/innovation and patent protection, and to resolve the compatibility of GPL draft 3.0 with other FOSS licenses.

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