Open Source Licenses After Jacobsen v. Katzer

Best Practices for Copyright Compliance in Software Licensing

Federal Circuit Expands Scope of Liability

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

Conducted on Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Course Materials


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit settled the question of the enforceability of open source licensing with its ruling in Jacobsen in August. The decision expands the scope of liabilities for users who fail to adhere to an open source license condition requiring attribution.

From now on, there is no dispute that open source software creators can sue users that fail to comply with the licensing terms for infringement, regardless of whether the user paid for such use.

To avoid charges of copyright infringement, licensees and their counsel should manage and account for the open source use to ensure they strictly comply with the obligations and restrictions of the license agreements.

Listen as our authoritative panel of IP attorneys examines the Federal Circuit’s ruling in Jacobsen, its impact on licensing, and best practices for open source licensing going forward.



  1. Open source licenses
    1. Background
    2. Type of licenses
  2. Jacobsen v. Katzer (Fed. Cir. Aug. 13, 2008)
    1. Background
    2. Federal Circuit’s ruling
    3. Enforceability of open source licenses
    4. Covenants and conditions
    5. Remedies
  3. Impact of the Jacobsen decision
    1. Enforceability of licenses
    2. Expanded scope of liabilities


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • How does the Federal Circuit's ruling change the landscape for open source licenses?
  • What is Jacobsen's broader impact for all software licenses?
  • What are the best practices for licensees to ensure compliance with open source license agreements?
  • How does the distinction between covenants and conditions impact remedies?


Elaine M. Laflamme
Elaine M. Laflamme
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

She works with technology and Internet companies in negotiating and drafting IP, information technology and...  |  Read More

Becky L. Troutman
Becky L. Troutman
Winston & Strawn

She focuses on intellectual property and technology transactions and counseling and practices extensively in open...  |  Read More

Paul H. Arne
Paul H. Arne
Morris Manning & Martin

He co-chairs the firm's Technology Transactions Group and the Privacy and Security Group. He focuses on open source...  |  Read More

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