GnuPG binaries with IDEA

Robert J. Hansen cortana at
Tue Aug 26 16:16:01 CEST 2003

> This morning I was trying to look at it, but I'm not 100% clear on what 
> the situation with IDEA is.  

Still patented in the U.S., patent still held by Ascom-Tech A.G. last I
heard.  My most recent information says that it's free for use in
noncommercial software, which means if you're using GnuPG
noncommercially you can use it without a license; otherwise, you need to
pay Ascom-Tech.

> I know that it's patented in some countries and can't be used there 
> without a license, although IIUC the US is surprisingly not one of 
> those countries.  

Incorrect.  It's patented basically in every Western nation where
software patents are considered valid, which (unfortunately) includes
the US.

> At any rate, what would be the legal situation on releasing binaries of 
> GnuPG that included the IDEA code?

You need to ask a lawyer this question, not the GnuPG-devel mailing
list.  We're coders here; law is far beyond our professional
specialties.  Having said that, you couldn't include IDEA in a GnuPG
build.  The "no commercial use" clause of the free-distribution IDEA
license conflicts with the "no additional restrictions" requirement of
the GNU GPL.

Robert J. Hansen <cortana at>

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