If software artifact is patented and then licensed under Apache Software License 2.0 what are the limitation due to the patent?

Can the patent be used for non derived works. Independent (better) reimplementation of the software? Can a similar product be developed? What level of overlap can there be? What would be the implication if you use some or onthe other hand none of the code from the original product? What about reusing design, architectural and visual aspects but not the code? If the rewrite is done in another language hence you cannot use the original code? What would be the implication of the patent?

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  • This might be better at Open Source. Would you like it migrated? – feetwet Feb 22 '17 at 13:54
  • Yes. I am looking for the best answer from the widest audience. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Feb 22 '17 at 14:34

If software artifact is patented and then licensed under Apache Software License 2.0 what are the limitation due to the patent?

It would depend if you are the patent holder and if you are the licensor or a contributor.

If you are both the patent holder and either the licensor or a contributor then per section 3 you are eventually granting a patent license.

If you are neither of these and are just the recipient, then this patent is licensed to you but this is a limited license. Again per section:

[...[ where such license applies only to those patent claims licensable by such Contributor that are necessarily infringed by their Contribution(s) alone or by combination of their Contribution(s) with the Work to which such Contribution(s) was submitted.

So this is limited to the scope of what the software does which could be quite limited depending on how you read a given patent.

The license granted per section 3 again states:

[...] patent license to make, have made, use, offer to sell, sell, import, and otherwise transfer the Work [...]

I would interpret make and have made as a license that would allow to create "infringing" work in other languages. The case of doing modifications does seem implied there too, but this is just a wild take.

As always with patent, you should consult an attorney.

  • I am just a 3rd party. The company writing the software has the patents. The software in licensed under Apache 2.0. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Feb 23 '17 at 2:44
  • Then you receive a limited patent license. What you can make of it would likely need some legal advice and review. – Philippe Ombredanne Feb 24 '17 at 15:04

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