Commitments are enforceable promises in which patent holders agree they will not, under certain terms and conditions, assert patent rights against third parties who are engaging in activities that might otherwise give rise to a claim of patent infringement. The US patent laws, for example, give patent holders the right to prevent others from making, using, offering for sale, selling, or importing the invention into the United States. Commitments give permission for others to engage in those activities provided they comply with the Commitment's terms and conditions.


Most Commitments include the following:

  1. The beneficiaries who may rely on the Commitment;
  2. A grant of permission allowing the beneficiaries to use patents held by the Contributor consistent with the statement of permitted use and under specified terms and conditions;
  3. A statement of permitted use identifying the scope of permissible activities and purposes for which the patents can be used without risk the Contributer will enforce its rights under the patents (“use” and "used” here should not be confused with “use” as contained in the US patent law; we use the term “use” to encompass all of the rights granted the patent holder upon issuance of a valid US patent (i.e., make, use, sell, offer to sell and import));
  4. A defensive termination provision identifying conduct that, if engaged in by a beneficiary, gives rise to a right by the Contributor to terminate the Commitment and enforce the pledged patents against the beneficiary;
  5. A reservation of rights that allows the Contributor to terminate the Commitment if a beneficiary fails to comply with the statement of permitted use or engages in conduct triggering a defensive termination provision.

Organizing Commitments By Type

Our Library organizes Commitments by type depending on key characteristics that also help you understand some of the more important differences between them. You can use these characteristics to search the Commitment database by Commitment type.

These Commitments identify specific patents.
These Commitments do not identify specific patents.
These Commitments cover open source licensed software.
These Commitments cover specific standards or techology.

How Commitments Protect

Commitments provide legal protection for activities that might otherwise be considered infringement. By making a Commitment, a Contributor gives permission for others to engage in activities it could otherwise prevent, or for which the Contributor could collect damages or royalties. Courts have concluded it is unfair and inequitable for Contributors to encourage others to rely on their promise they will not enforce their patents and then sue them for infringement for doing so.