[zeromq-dev] LGPLv3 patent clause

Laurent Alebarde l.alebarde at free.fr
Fri Jan 31 09:29:52 CET 2014

IMHO, everything can be hell or haven, including LGPL. It depends on 
one's motivations and intentions. For patents, lawyers are the tools of 
the owners, so what happens depends on the owners (except the patent 
officers, but they infringe only the owners). I agree also many patents 
are abusive and shaming.

That's why I am also against patents on software. But it is not that 
simple. Software is just a tool. Many technologies need software to come 
to life but are not intrinsically software. Then patents may be IMHO 
legitimate. When you spend thousands of hours to develop an innovative 
technology, you can expect earning some money with it, at least to feed 
your children, isn't it ?

Open source and associated consulting and expertise is a great 
economical model, but not the only one. Moreover, it fits some people, 
and not others. Other people are creative and technology centric. For 
them, the patent may be the less bad idea, even if many times it is 
finaly a real bad idea because filing a patent requires that you have 
funds to defend it. But it may also be a good idea, especially if your 
invention needs to be opened, or once again, the less bad idea. Many 
corporates are unfair, isn't it ? The guy who invented car wipers had to 
fight all his life to obtain the first dollar from his invention.

When it comes to technical innovation, when you want to keep your 
freedom in a small business, when you want to spend your time in 
creation more than in service, what do you propose ?

Of course, you cannot answer: consulting is great, make your technology 
free, raise a community, do expertise and be happy. That would be just 
what fits to some people, but not others. Besides, if the technology is 
simple to use, nobody will need your expertise.

One may also hire a few people to do the consulting, and stay on the 
creation, but then you have to spend most of your time in management, 
what is creativity counter  productive. You can also hire a CE, but then 
you may have other kind of troubles.

You may also just stay an employee in a corporate with a cool R&D.

There is no legitimate reason to prevent anyone to get freedom and to 
be, behave and work as he is, as far as the freedom and dignity of 
everyone else is respected and preserved.

My 2 cts.

Laurent Alebarde

Le 30/01/2014 14:00, Pieter Hintjens a écrit :
> On Thu, Jan 30, 2014 at 4:29 AM, Sojan James <sojan.james at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I think zeromq is a great library to use for my project.  At my company, all
>> open source usage needs to be approved for use by a legal team.  Usage of
>> GLPv3 and LGPLv3 is flatly refused. One of the reasons is the clause about
>> the patents.  I don't fully understand the implications of the patent clause
>> of LGPLv3 w.r.t zeromq.  Does the static linking exception affect my
>> obligations in any way?
>> I'm basically looking for any information that I can provide to the legal
>> team to discuss further if an exception can be granted for this library.
> The patent clause in the LGPLv3 applies to anyone using ZeroMQ, no
> matter how they link it. This is deliberate. The goal is to reduce
> patent lawsuits around ZeroMQ. You can read the full implications
> elsewhere; it's standard part of GPLv3. Any firm that flatly refuses
> (L)GPLv3 for these reasons is welcome to go buy commercial software,
> or use other products.
> Speaking personally, (software) patents are an infectious abomination
> that allow pseudo-lawyers to parasite the work of productive people.
> Firms do make the choice: either they embrace that abomination or they
> reject it. If they embrace it, they are dangerous partners and
> unreliable contributors. The LGPLv3 patent clause makes a good filter
> to ensure such firms do not join our community. /End of personal
> statement
> -Pieter
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