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Understanding Patent Pledges: An Overview of Legal Considerations

Patent pledges and covenants provide assurance to developers and users of software and technology that the patent holders making the pledges and covenants will not sue them for patent infringement, provided they comply with certain terms and conditions.

The number of companies, universities and individuals considering making pledges and covenants is growing, as are the number of developers and users who are considering relying on those pledges and covenants to innovate. Naturally, developers and users should understand the legal foundation on which pledges and covenants rest, how they operate, and the associated legal risks.

This paper provides an overview of legal considerations for those who are considering relying on publicly made promises and covenants. It first examines the legal basis for pledges and covenants, and then turns to the broader question of patent infringement liability.

Patent Commons White Paper - Understanding Patent Pledges: Overview of Legal Considerations