Notice

Just a reminder, these posts are not legal advice. This site is the personal blog of Mark Radcliffe and the opinions expressed are those of Mark Radcliffe and not those of his clients, DLA Piper or the clients of DLA Piper.

About Me:

Mark Radcliffe

I have been practicing law in Silicon Valley for over thirty years assisting startups and global companies develop and market innovative products and services. I have participated in multiple business cyles in Silicon Valley from hardware to software to internet to cloud. My projects have included developing the dual licensing business model for open source startup, developing the original domain dispute resolution policy for NSI and assisting Sun in open sourcing the Solaris operating system. Recently, I served on the US Japan Innovation and Entrepreneurship Council (one of ten members) to develop a plan to encourage the innovation in Japan and the United States. I have been working with the same attorneys since 1986 although we have merged with other law firms several times. I am now a partner at DLA Piper, a (relatively) new global law firm formed in 2005 from the merger of three law firms. The firm now has 4200 lawyers in 31 countries and 77 cities. My experience in corporate securities (particularly venture capital) and intellectual property enables me to assist companies structure the financing and intellectual property strategy for developing ane exploiting a new product or service. I and my team work with fifty startups at one time as well as Global Fortune 100. I have been fortunate enough to work with companies in software, cloud computing, semiconductor, health care IT and Web 2.0.

I am looking forward to the upcoming Open Source Think Tank 2011 which we are co hosting with Olliance Group/Black Duck. Andrew Aitken has prepared a great agenda and we are going to have a case study by AOL which they describes as follows: AOL is planning two related open source initiatives: employing open source technologies and practices to improve the innovation and efficiency of their developers and releasing elements of their software portfolio as open source to enrich their ability to deliver content and encourage community contributions. 

This year the Open Source Think Tank will be particularly interesting because of the dramatic expansion in the use and importance of Freedom and Open Source Software (”FOSS”).  We will be discussing the recent completion of many important industry initiatives to make FOSS easier to use: Project Harmony (contributor agreement), SPDX (assisting management of the supply chain by providing a common vocabulary for describing licenses), new Mozilla license and Open Web Foundation (contributor agreements).

The Open Source Think Tank is unique because of the breadth and seniority of those who attend, from CEOs such as Larry Augustin (SugarCRM) and Tim Yeaton (Black Duck) to counsel such as John Noerenberg (Chief IP Counsel, Qualcomm) and Marissa Aufox (Compliance Counsel, Go Daddy Group) to CTOs such as Shawn Douglass (EMC) and Paul Daugherty (Chief Technology Architect, Accenture).

We will also be discussing the recent government initiatives which could dramatically increase the market for FOSS.  I have mentioned these government initiatives in an earlier post. http://lawandlifesiliconvalley.com/blog/?p=607.

We have a few more spaces left for the Open Source Think Tank, but if you are interested you will have to move quickly. http://thinktank.olliancegroup.com/

HP announced the launch of two websites to assist companies in managing open source software:

http://www.fossology.org/: This site provides a tool that HP developed internally to assist in the management of FOSS. The tool was designed to “quickly and accurately describe how a given open source project was licensed.” It is designed to analyze all of the source code for a given project and uses license declarations and “tell tale” phrases to identify which software licenses are being used.

http://www.fossbazaar.org/: This community site provides access to information on FOSS and how to manage it. FOSSBazaar is designed to be a site share information and best practices on managing open source software, with issues ranging from license management to vulnerabilities in FOSS projects. HP has posted significant material on FOSS Governance in the “Getting Started” folder.https://fossbazaar.org/?q=topics/gettingStarted

The site is unique because it provides a single location to discuss information which is currently spread across multiple sites. I think that the site will be very valuable to the FOSS community, but only if they use it. In fact, I have contributed information on intellectual property to the site: https://fossbazaar.org/?q=topics/ipIssues.

The availability of this tool as well as the more familiar Black Duck and Palamida tools mean that the use of FOSS will be receiving increasing levels of scrutiny. We have already seen much greater scrutiny of these issues both at funding for venture capital backed startups and in mergers and acquisitions. In fact, several large companies have established specific, separate due diligence procedures focused solely on open source use. Since more than 95% of venture backed startups exit through acquisition, the management of FOSS use should be a priority for technology startups. Moreover, with the increasing use of litigation by some projects, http://lawandlifesiliconvalley.blogspot.com/2007/12/busybox-files-lawsuit-against-verizon.html the management of FOSS use needs to become a priority for all companies using software (which is essentially all companies)

I recommend that you take the sites for a spin.

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