[oslc] License grant option in addition to covenant

Scott Bosworth bosworth at us.ibm.com
Thu Dec 9 12:42:41 EST 2010

When it comes to IP matters, OSLC workgroup participants (typically their
employers) agree to two things today:

(1) that contributions to the community are made under a Creative Commons
copyright license, and
(2) to make an IP Covenant (a promise) not to file patent claims against
implementations of an OSLC specification

These things in combination allow for a free flowing specification
authoring process and a tangible form of encouragement of OSLC spec

One of our community members shared with me that his company is not
accustomed to the IP Covenant legal approach and prefer instead to make a
specific license grant to implementers of OSLC specifications. To address
the concern, I worked with folks from that company and with my IBM
colleague and IP attorney Dan McLoughlin to draft language that would allow
workgroup participants to either (a) make the IP Covenant as has been our
standard practice to date, or (b)  provide a no-charge, royalty-free
license grant covering any IP necessary to implement an OSLC specification.
Dan's proposed license grant language is linked to below [1].  You'll note
that the language and substance are largely the same as that of the

Now that we have a draft, I'd like to open it up to the community for
comment. I'll  take any feedback on the license grant language between now
and the end of the year. Feel free to send me that feedback directly via
e-mail. Barring any major issues, I'm proposing to summarize the feedback
and add the final language as an option, alongside the Covenant, to the
OSLC terms of use in the first week of January. The new option won't come
into play for any current specs/covenant documents, however workgroup
participants who are involved in future specs can decide to continue to
make use of the IP Covenant  or instead make use of the License Grant.

One last thought - I'm not sure that either option is "better" or
"preferred" -- that's really up to individual workgroup participants to
decide in consultation with their legal experts and in context of their
organization's practices. That said, both of these legal approaches/tools
offer the kind of assurances intended to encourage OSLC spec
implementations. I'm happy that we can introduce this option.

[1] http://open-services.net/bin/view/Main/OslcLicenseGrantDRAFT

Scott Bosworth | IBM Rational CTO Team | bosworth at us.ibm.com | 919.486.2197
(w) | 919.244.3387(m) | 919.254.5271(f)
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