[zeromq-dev] LGPLv3 patent clause

Charles Remes lists at chuckremes.com
Fri Jan 31 14:35:09 CET 2014

It took me a long time, but I have come around to share Pieter’s view.


On Jan 31, 2014, at 5:19 AM, Pieter Hintjens <ph at imatix.com> wrote:

> This is off-topic for ZeroMQ, but if you want my detailed
> deconstruction of the patent system, and why I've spent years of my
> life fighting it, see here: http://hintjens.com/blog:31.
> My views are on the public record. For two years I was president of
> the FFII, the leading European NGO defining software patent policy in
> Europe. We contributed to the relevant clauses in the GPLv3. I chose
> that for ZeroMQ with the very specific intention of excluding any
> contributor that used patents in their software business strategy.
> In short, the patent system does not help small inventors except in
> freak cases. The _entire_ patent system is, in my view, a legal
> parasite designed by professional sociopaths to feed off real economic
> activity, leaving nothing but ruin behind. Every claim for patents is
> based on the lure of easy money, wrong assumptions, bogus economic
> theory, mistaken theories of innovation, naivety about legal process,
> or outright lies.
> On Fri, Jan 31, 2014 at 9:29 AM, Laurent Alebarde <l.alebarde at free.fr> wrote:
>> 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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