Open Source Software

Open Source Software is everywhere, and software engineers and companies are keen to use Open Source Software in their products and services.  The free availability and the possibility to adapt this software to specific requirements and applications are important drivers.

However, many Open Source Software users tend to forget that such software - much like commercial software - is still governed by licensing conditions, and that users of Open Source Software are still legally bound by these conditions.  An additional complexity is that Open Source license conditions are very different from the conditions that usually apply to commercial software, which presents a challenge to those not familiar with such licenses.  Also, there is a recent tendency by the IP rights holders of Open Source Software to enforce the applicable license conditions, if necessary in Court (for some examples, see our links page).

All this means that companies and engineers using Open Source Software are well-advised to seek professional legal advice regarding the applicable license conditions and how to ensure compliance.  This is all the more important because improper use of Open Source Software can endanger one's own Intellectual Property as well.  Companies and engineers using Open Source Software, can contact us for the following:

  • Advice regarding the license conditions applicable to any Open Source Software used, and how to ensure proper compliance without endangering one's own IP rights.
  • Advice regarding the choice of an Open Source Software licensing model for software development projects.
  • Support and legal representation in proceedings related to Open Source Software licensing (*).

Because Open Source Source Software is everywhere, keeping track of Open Source Software usage and licensing is very important.  We are partnered with, and certified by, the leading supplier of software for automated detection of Open Source Software: Black Duck Software Inc.  If you employ any of the Black Duck products to scan your own software base for the presence of Open Source Software (whether due to contractual requirements, in a merger or acquisition, or for other reasons), we can assist in properly interpreting and finalizing the scan results, and in solving any problems shown.  With our technical and legal expertise, we are uniquely capable of solving any software licensing problems that exist in your software base.

(*) Legal representation services expected to start 1st quarter 2019.



Dr. Martin Beckmann

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