The BSD-2-Clause Plus Patent (also known as BSD+Patent, not to be confused with Facebook’s shady BSD+Patents attempt) is relatively new among other BSD licenses but (arguably) a good alternative to a double MIT plus Apache 2.0 licensing approach. It is short, GPL-compatible, and explicitly addresses patent granting. And it is OSI approved.

So, why do we have no 3-clause version of it? Does the 3rd clause of non-endorsement make it incompatible with a patent grant? Or is there any other reason? I’m genuinely curious.

1 Answer 1


We don't have it (BSD-3-clause + Patent), because nobody created it and submitted it to OSI for approval.

But theoretically, it can be created and it would be compatible with GPLv2, if the BSD+Patent license is also compatible with GPLv2. I don't see the BSD+Patent license in the GPL compatibility list, although it is presumably compatible with GPLv2, since the offending clauses in the Apache License 2.0 were the patent termination and indemnification clauses which are not present in the BSD+Patent license.

Anyway, the "endorsement" clause is considered to be not useful, for e.g. by the NetBSD project:

The members of the NetBSD Foundation (i.e. its developers) no longer considered clause 4 (the "endorsement" clause) to be useful in today's software world.

That said, the Apache License 2.0 is so much more explicit and detailed in its requirements, for e.g. with respect to trademarks. It is a much better license than BSD+Patent. It's also compatible with GPLv3, AGPLv3 and LGPLv3.

Even the GNU Foundation stated:

The patent termination provision is a good thing, which is why we recommend the Apache 2.0 license for substantial programs over other lax permissive licenses.

To add GPLv2 compatibility to Apache License 2.0, there are several better ways than dual-licensing it with the MIT license (MIT OR Apache-2.0):

  • The LLVM Exception (Apache-2.0 WITH LLVM-exception).
  • Dual-licensing the Apache License 2.0 with either the GPLv2 or LGPLv2.1.
  • 1
    I (kind of) hoped there were other reasons, except for the “nobody did that” one. But what can you do, I guess? Thank you for the answer. By the endorsement clause, I meant the third one, the “to endorse or promote products derived” one. In this case, the story about the 4th one is unrelated. I vaguely entertained the thought that there is some quirky legal reason why the “endorse or promote” part may theoretically clash with the patent grant. But it looks like the reality is banal. But again, thank you. I will accept your answer gladly.
    – Aeron
    Aug 15, 2023 at 16:56

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