Managing IP While Using Open Source: Copyright and Patent Licensing

Assessing Software Options, Mitigating Risk of IP Infringement in Software Development

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will guide counsel on managing IP while benefiting from using open source. The panel will review the risks and benefits of using open source software and ways to appropriately manage IP rights while participating in the open source community. The panel will also discuss patent issues that arise in open source.


Open source offers many benefits to companies that use it. However, some companies fear that if they incorporate open source into their products or make their code open source, they risk losing control over their IP rights or risk litigation.

Some IP issues involved in open source are often overlooked, including significant patent issues. Among these challenges are open source software license compatibility and express and implied patent license grants in open source licenses. Further, while what is patent-eligible in the context of software-related inventions is not always clear, open-source software can be and is patented.

IP counsel to companies considering or using open source will want to thoughtfully consider what IP rights in open source software to protect, how to protect them, and how patent provisions of open source licenses impact the company's IP.

Listen as our authoritative panel of IP attorneys discusses how companies can balance the risks and benefits of open source with a view towards appropriate protection of their IP rights. The panel will also review patent issues arising in open source, litigation that has involved open source software, and litigation strategies relating to patents and open source.



  1. Risks and benefits of open source
  2. Balancing open source and proprietary code--managing and appropriately protecting the IP in software that uses open source
  3. Protection of IP
    1. Copyright protection for open source
    2. Patent protection for open source
  4. Open source license compatibility issues
  5. Open source license patent issues
    1. Express and implied licenses
    2. Patent license grants
    3. Patent non-assertion clauses
  6. Litigation issues involving patents and open source
    1. Summary of key cases
    2. Patent infringement defense strategies
  7. Practical implications--what do I need to do?


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • Managing the legal risks of using open source software
  • Balancing use of open source and proprietary code
  • Open source patent issues: licenses, grants, and litigation


Chestek, Pamela
Pamela S. Chestek

Chestek Legal

Ms. Chestek practices in trademark, copyright, open source, advertising, and marketing law. She has worked in both law...  |  Read More

Mishcon, Adam
Adam Mishcon

General Counsel

Mr. Mishcon is a seasoned Silicon Valley attorney with over 20 years of experience providing business counsel to high...  |  Read More

Schwartz, Leon
Leon Schwartz

GTC Law Group PC & Affiliates

Mr. Schwartz focuses on intellectual property strategy and general corporate matters. Prior to joining the firm, he...  |  Read More

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