Erlang vs Linux

Kenneth Lundin <>
Mon Mar 3 18:22:54 CET 2003


Hi,

Just to make things clear about the patent regarding Erlang used in a 
special way in a special application.

Ericsson relased Erlang as Open Source because we want many users of Erlang.

All that Joe Armstrong has written below is correct, I see no problem 
whatsoever with Erlang applications written by Open Source users , they 
do not violate any patent by Ericsson just because they are written in 
Erlang and uses the OTP components and concepts.

Regards Kenneth Lundin (Product Manager within Ericsson for Erlang/OTP)

Joe Armstrong wrote:
> On Wed, 26 Feb 2003, Miguel Barreiro Paz wrote:
> 
> 
>>	Just out of curiosity, I've coincidentally found that patent
>>EP0544637 (equivalent to WO9311484, for those out of the EU) effectively
>>patents Erlang and OTP. 
> 
> 
>   No it  doesn't -  The patent  covers the combination  of Erlang  + A
> particular  application   +  A  particular  way   of  programming  the
> application.
> 
>   The language was Erlang as is was in 1993 which is very different to
> today (this  was before  Funs, binaries, bit  syntax, etc.)   had been
> added to  the language so  it refers to  a *different* version  of the
> language.
> 
>   The particular application was a  PABX programmed with the so called
> "half call model"
> 
>   The architecture was the so-called AOS (Application OS) this
> was *before* BOS (basic OS) which was *before* OTP.
> 
>   In no way  can todays Erlang/OTP be considered  as a minor variation
> of the Erlang/AOS referred to in  the patent - there are several major
> an nonobvious additions since the work in 1993.
> 
> 
>   <aside> to  be in violation of  a patent you must  violate *all* the
> clauses  of the  patent -  so  for a  Non PABX  application you  could
> *never* be in violation of the patent </aside>
> 
>   In any case even if the patent referred was applicable to the current
> Erlang/OTP (which it is not) then 2.1b of the license would apply
> 
> --- quote
> 2. Source Code License.
> 
> 2.1. The Initial Developer Grant.
> The Initial Developer hereby grants You a world-wide, royalty-free,
> non-exclusive license, subject to third party intellectual property
> claims:
> 
> (a) to use, reproduce, modify, display, perform, sublicense and
>     distribute the Original Code (or portions thereof) with or without
>     Modifications, or as part of a Larger Work; and 
> 
> (b) under patents now or hereafter owned or controlled by Initial
>     Developer, to make, have made, use and sell (``Utilize'') the
>     Original Code (or portions thereof), but solely to the extent that
>     any such patent is reasonably necessary to enable You to Utilize
>     the Original Code (or portions thereof) and not to any greater
>     extent that may be necessary to Utilize further Modifications or
>     combinations. 
> 
> --- end
>  
>   The  initial  developer was  Ericsson.   2.1(b)  says  that you  can
> "Utilize" the system even if  such utilisation is regulated by patents
> "now or hereafter owned or controlled by Initial Developer".
> 
>   Since Ericsson wants  you to use Erlang (That's  why it was released
> as Open  Source) - they  explicitly granted you  the right to  use the
> system  - even  if the  use of  the system  was covered  by  their own
> patents.
> 
>   If a  competitor to  Ericsson (say Nortel)  held such a  patent then
> their might have been a problem.
> 
> ----
> 
> Summary:
> 
>   1) The patent  refers to a historical vsn  of Erlang + AOS  + A PABX
> application written in a particular  manner. This is very different to
> todays' Erlang + OTP. 
> 
>   2) Ericsson granted you  the right to use OTP even  when such use is
> governed by patents held by Ericsson.
> 
>    /Joe
> 
> 
> 
> 
>>I understand that its purpose is to guard
>>Ericsson's shoulders, but the legal status of an opensourced system that
>>is at the same time covered by a patent is a bit questionable without
>>an explicit statement by the patent holder.
> 
> 
> 2.1(b) was an explicit statement
> 
> 
>>	Can anyone comment on this?
>>
>>Regards,
>>
>>Miguel
>>
> 
> 
> 
> 


-- 
Kenneth Lundin              Ericsson AB
     ÄT2/UAB/UKH/K
			    BOX 1505
+46 8 727 57 25 	    125 25 Älvsjö





More information about the erlang-questions mailing list