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.

The DLA Piper 2008 Technology Leaders Forecast Survey found that  the use of open source software, while widespread, remains misunderstood. The Survey found that software companies used open source software in 65% of their products, as compared with use of open source software in 55% of the products of all technology companies. This number drops to 29% of the products when all respondents are included. However, only 48% of these companies have an open source use policy (software companies were more likely to have an open source use policy).

Smaller companies, those with fewer than 1000 employees, used open source software in almost half of their products (44%), yet 35% of these companies do not have open source use policies. Larger companies, those with more than 5,000 employees, reported use of open source software in only 9% of their products and 65% do not have open source use policies. I find that this number for use of open source software among large companies is strikingly low.

I think that the survey reflects a continued misunderstanding among large companies about how widespread is the use of open source software.The failure to have an open source use policy is very dangerous in the world of complicated “hybrid” products: open source licenses do not mix well with commercial licenses without careful analysis. The risk is particularly high now because the financial downturn means that licensors will be carefully reviewing compliance with license terms to try to find new sources of revenue. For additional thoughts on this issue, you can see my interview.


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  2. [...] yet survey after survey shows that companies do not have open source software policies. Mark Radcliffe reports that the DLA Piper 2008 Technology Leaders Forecast Survey found that only 48% of companies* have [...]

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  3. [...] They noted that governance remains the number one problem. They noted that 69% of companies surveyed do not have a formal policy for evaluating and cataloguing OSS use. This number is even more dramatic than the findings of the survey for the DLA Piper Global Technology Summit. [...]

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  4. [...] panel on VC $, moderated by Mark Radcliffe [...]

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