Wednesday, April 23, 2008

OSBC: Aligning Intellectual Property Strategy and Open Source Strategy

Recently, at the OSBC, I spoke on how to align your intellectual property strategy to your open source business strategy. This issue can be very simple if you are joining or contributing to an existing project, because you will be bound to use the license of the project. However, if you have more flexibility, you need to consider a number of elements: (1) the sources of revenue (2) the type of product (3) business model (4) type of project (5) channels (6) type of community and (7) competitors. Once you have answered these questions, you then need to review your intellectual property options, such as such as patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright, licenses and domain names to implement your open source business strategy.

For example, a new web infrastructure software company might decide to adopt a dual licensing model and to adopt a license which is relatively compatible in order to interact effectively with other open source software used on the web. The company has decided that its most important intellectual property will be patents and trademarks. The license options include MPL, CDDL, CPAL or if integration is less important, GPLv2, GPLv3 and AGPL.

The materials also describe some of the mistakes that open source companies have made. If you are interested in the presentation it is posted on the OSBC website.