Mark Miller tells me that there are some people spreading misinformation about the IP status of EROS. What people are supposedly saying is words to the effect of: "Jonathan says that IBM has said that the IP status of EROS is questionable." I suspect that this is the result of a simple miscommunication, but whatever the origins the situation needs to be made clear.
Here is the current status:
All of the code presently in EROS falls in one of the following categories:
A few subsystems that are NOT presently distributed are under GPL.
To the best of my knowledge, EROS does not infringe on any patents. It is always possible that patents exist that I don't know about.
People have asked specifically about the KeyKOS factory patent. The KeyKOS Factory patent cannot be applied against EROS, because the KeyKOS patent was allowed to expire due to missed maintainance payments while EROS was being developed. The patent was subsequently reinstated by petition, but EROS is grandfathered under USCode Title 35, Part I, Chapter 4, Sec 41, (12)(c)(2).
In addition, it is not at all clear that the petition for reinstatement, which was obtained under USCode Title 35, Part I, Chapter 4, Sec 41, (12)(c)(1) would survive challenge by competent counsel. The lapse was certainly not unintentional, as several people including myself pointed out to Key Logic that the lapse had occurred within plenty of time to meet six month automatic grace period. Neither was it unavoidable under the theory that Key Logic was insolvent, since I was trying to obtain a license at the time whose fees would have more than covered the patent payments. Key Logic's decision not to respond to my request for a license, and their resulting lack of money, does not constitute an unavoidable circumstance. The fact that having license fees in hand would have resulted in the dissolution of the company by the debenture holders is *certainly* not an unavoidable circumstance, particularly given that there is a strong case that the primary reason for their delay in bankruptcy filing was to avoid their salary obligations to their former employees.
Jonathan S. Shapiro