Subject: Re: License Discussion for the Broad Institute Public License (BIPL)
From: Brendan Scott <>
Date: Thu, 11 May 2006 21:36:39 +1000

Rory Pheiffer wrote:
> Hello,
> I am writing to begin a discussion about the license we (the Massachusetts
> Institute of Technology or MIT for short) recently submitted to the Open
> Source Initiative for approval as an OSI Certified license.  The title of
> the license is the Broad (pronounced Brr-ode as opposed to Brr-awed)
> Institute Public License, or BIPL for short.  Below please find the three
> sections which your group has asked me to address:

> The most significant reason why we could not use the MPL is because MIT
> cannot agree to grant a license to any MIT-owned patent that may end up
> being associated with the software.  This is because it is virtually
> impossible for MIT to know if any of its many professors, researchers,
> investigators, or students have, are, or will do work that gives rise to a
> patent claim that covers use of its software under the BIPL.  MIT cannot
> grant rights to these patent claims because the professors, researchers,
> investigators, or students involved with the patent claim would not have an
> opportunity to make decisions regarding the licensing of these patent claims
> if a blind patent grant was part of a license that we distribute under.  The
> patent grant in the MPL is an encumbrance that MIT cannot agree to give.

Maybe I am not understanding what you are concerned about, but...

The wording of the MPL aside, if MIT owns the patents, on what basis can it deny a licence
over them?  That is, if use of the software necessarily requires an exercise of the
patent, and MIT grants a licence to use the software, how can you maintain that there
is no licence over the patent?  

(and conversely, if MIT does not own the patents, why would the licence be of concern?)