Version 2.0 release of Solderpad Hardware Licence is simplified and presented as a wraparound to the Apache 2.0 software license.

The Solderpad Hardware Licence is based upon the popular Apache 2.0 software license, which in contrast to simpler permissive software licences such as BSD and MIT, provides greater clarity by defining terms such as source, object and derivative works, while also including patent provisions.

The Solderpad Hardware Licence extends Apache 2.0 by covering additional forms of IP which are not covered (such as database extraction right), and also adjusts the terminology slightly to make it more understandable in a hardware context. As such it has gone on to prove a popular licence and been adopted by numerous open source hardware projects, such as the free and open source silicon (FOSSi) PULP Platform.

In announcing the new version its author, Andrew Katz of law firm Moorcrofts, stated that “Many people (lawyers included) are familiar with Apache 2.0, and we had comments saying that it would be easier for those people to understand the Solderpad licence if it were presented as a single short document which acted as a wraparound to Apache 2.0, rather than presented as an edited version of it (even if the diffs are visible). This version is drafted with this in mind, and you should find it easier to understand. Like the previous versions, you can ignore the modifiers and treat it as plain Apache 2.0.” Going on to note that “We moved straight from 0.51 to 2.0, because people were using Solderpad 0.51 as de facto Solderpad 1.0, and because it’s a sufficiently large change in format (if not effect) for the step to be justified”.