Question about the OpenFHE patents and usage

HI, is anything in OpenFHE patented? If so, is there any limitation in terms of what I can do? The BSD2 licence does not seem to explicitly mention patents!

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IIRC there are some patents including the schemes. Gentry has one (US 9083526 B2). And at least for a part of CKKS; search the patent US 11115182.

As BSD2 includes a disclaimer warranty, I suggest consulting a lawyer since to me the library itself does not free the liability you care of.

Hi @jwaang , thanks for posting and asking. I’m one of the main people behind the OpenFHE project, and we’re of course all very happy that it is getting attention and uptake.

In general OpenFHE is intended to provide implementations of all the major FHE schemes for practical and production-ready use, along with building blocks that can be easily modified and integrated. We specifically chose the BSD 2-clause license because it is so open and commercial-friendly. OpenFHE is currently used by several academic, commercial and government projects to support highly secure collaboration on sensitive data.

On purpose we make no claims about any patents in the OpenFHE license, primarily because the devilish challenge of IP in general is that it can be so very hard to provide guarantees that no one has ever tried to file a patent on anything relevant to any existing IP. For one, there are a lot of spurious patents that get filed every year, and even when a patent is filed it isn’t publicly published for months or years. This of course isn’t a challenge just for OpenFHE or just for open-source FHE or even just a problem for software, but it is a challenge for anything that might reasonably be patented! :slight_smile:

As an aside, other folks in this thread have cited other patents. I don’t think they’re all relevant because some of the cited patents might focus on older schemes or designs not supported or implemented in OpenFHE. That being said, I’m not an IP lawyer - just a major enthusiast of privacy technology and I’m trying to provide open source building blocks for broad use.

Thanks again for your question!


Thank you for the response! It is a little complicated, I am trying to understand. You say companies use openfhe in production, how? Cryptolab website say they have patent on CKKS, do I need to ask them also?