Mozilla and Patents

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Mozilla and Patents

Daniel Cater
"AOL and Microsoft Announce $1.056 Billion Patent Deal"

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20120409005434/en/AOL-Microsoft-Announce-1.056-Billion-Patent-Deal

Some sources are reporting that these are Netscape patents: http://allthingsd.com/20120409/attention-marc-andreessen-microsoft-just-bought-part-of-netscape/

This made me think about the relation between Netscape patents and Mozilla, and Mozilla and patents in general. So I have some questions (these may be answered somewhere but I couldn't find them after a brief look). What follows is mainly just a quick braindump of my thought process so some questions might not make sense.

1. Does Mozilla hold any patents that it inherited / acquired from Netscape / AOL?
2. Does Mozilla hold any patents that it inherited / acquired from elsewhere?
3. Does Mozilla hold any patents that it filed for itself?
4. Does Mozilla have a licence for any Netscape / AOL patents?
5. Does Mozilla have a licence for any other patents?
6. Does Mozilla have a patent policy?
7. Does Mozilla have a section on patents in employees' contracts?
8. Does this sale and licence of AOL patents to Microsoft have any meaningful impact on Mozilla?

Thanks.
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Re: Mozilla and Patents

Gervase Markham
On 09/04/12 21:29, Daniel Cater wrote:
> 1. Does Mozilla hold any patents that it inherited / acquired from Netscape / AOL?
> 2. Does Mozilla hold any patents that it inherited / acquired from elsewhere?
> 3. Does Mozilla hold any patents that it filed for itself?
> 4. Does Mozilla have a licence for any Netscape / AOL patents?
> 5. Does Mozilla have a licence for any other patents?
> 6. Does Mozilla have a patent policy?
> 7. Does Mozilla have a section on patents in employees' contracts?
> 8. Does this sale and licence of AOL patents to Microsoft have any meaningful impact on Mozilla?

Hi Daniel,

As you will understand, for legal reasons it's not normally wise to
discuss or speculate on patent-related matters except with one's
attorney. The recently-adopted Debian Patent Policy[0] says:

"Patent risks affect the entire community. If you are concerned about a
specific patent, please do not keep it to yourself — notify legal counsel.

All communication related to specific patent risk should be directed to
[hidden email], which is maintained under the rules of
attorney-client privilege. The risk will be evaluated and any necessary
response will be made directly to affected parties."

In other words: "it's not smart to talk about patent risks in public".

Some of your questions are matters of fact and probably public record;
but I'm not sure I have answers off the top of my head and even if I
did, I'd still want to consult before giving them :-)

Gerv

[0] http://www.debian.org/legal/patent
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Re: Mozilla and Patents

Daniel Cater
In reply to this post by Daniel Cater
On Tuesday, April 10, 2012 5:19:50 PM UTC+1, Gerv wrote:

> On 09/04/12 21:29, Daniel Cater wrote:
> > 1. Does Mozilla hold any patents that it inherited / acquired from Netscape / AOL?
> > 2. Does Mozilla hold any patents that it inherited / acquired from elsewhere?
> > 3. Does Mozilla hold any patents that it filed for itself?
> > 4. Does Mozilla have a licence for any Netscape / AOL patents?
> > 5. Does Mozilla have a licence for any other patents?
> > 6. Does Mozilla have a patent policy?
> > 7. Does Mozilla have a section on patents in employees' contracts?
> > 8. Does this sale and licence of AOL patents to Microsoft have any meaningful impact on Mozilla?
>
> Hi Daniel,
>
> As you will understand, for legal reasons it's not normally wise to
> discuss or speculate on patent-related matters except with one's
> attorney. The recently-adopted Debian Patent Policy[0] says:
>
> "Patent risks affect the entire community. If you are concerned about a
> specific patent, please do not keep it to yourself — notify legal counsel.
>
> All communication related to specific patent risk should be directed to
> [hidden email], which is maintained under the rules of
> attorney-client privilege. The risk will be evaluated and any necessary
> response will be made directly to affected parties."
>
> In other words: "it's not smart to talk about patent risks in public".
>
> Some of your questions are matters of fact and probably public record;
> but I'm not sure I have answers off the top of my head and even if I
> did, I'd still want to consult before giving them :-)
>
> Gerv
>
> [0] http://www.debian.org/legal/patent

OK. If you could consult the relevant people and ask them to respond to as much as is publicly sensible then that would be great. I think the minimum amount of information should be kept private within Mozilla (where it has relevance to the community as a whole).

Thanks.
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