[jdom-interest] JDOM license evaluation

Nicholas Chase nick at nicholaschase.com
Thu May 17 17:42:31 PDT 2001

> > 2. No indemnity:  You have no protection against intellectual property
> > claims against the JDOM software.  If a patent claim is brought
> > against JDOM code, <the company> is subject to unlimited liability for
> > infringement.  <the company> may have limited liability clauses with
> > our customers that might limit our exposure for what we sell, but <the
> > company> faces unlimited liability for what <the company> makes.
> > (Commercial code provides <the company> with indemnities that allow
> > <the company> to escape such liability to certain extents.)
> Hmmm.  Somehow I suspect that if your company had deep pockets and the
> software vendor didn't, you'd find that their indemnification probably
> ain't going to keep you out of court.  On the flip side, if you don't
> have deep pockets, then you aren't worth taking to court anyway.

I actually missed the beginning of this thread, so I'm not sure why
this was even being evaluated, but I have just been on the other end
of exactly this problem in the last 12 months.  A client of my company
was contacted by the owner of an extremely questionable internet-related
patent.  The letter stated (accurately, apparently) that several Fortune
100 companies had paid upward of $80,000 to license this patent, and
that this client of ours had better pony up, or be sued.  Unfortunately,
our contract with this client had US responsible if their site violated
any patents, which meant that WE had to foot the bill to call the
evaluate the (non-existant) merits of the patent, etc.  Sure, if it went
to court (and who knows, it still might) the client WILL be dragged into
court, but the fact is that big companies want to have someone to shove
the responsibility off onto, as much as possible, even if it just avoids
having to deal with things until they're full-blown problems.

----  Nick

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