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You likely use open source software, but are you in compliance?

September 27, 2022


In our dynamic digital world, the usual question is not whether a company is using open source software in its products, but how is it being used, what is the license, and are you in compliance? Software developers often take open source licenses for granted and do not adhere to the license terms. Recent litigation presents reminders of the importance of understanding the requirements and risks around using open source software in commercial products. Examples include the CoKinetic Systems Corporation suit against Panasonic Avionics Corporation, seeking damages in excess of $100 million, in part, for alleged violation of the GNU General Public License Version 2 (“GPLv2”) open source license, and the recent complaint filed by the Software Freedom Conservancy, Inc. against smart-TV manufacturer Vizio, Inc. alleging a failure to comply with the GPLv2, among other licenses.

Hamilton Brook Smith Reynolds counsels its clients on creating robust strategies and policies for compliance with the applicable open source licenses. As a partner in the OpenChain Project (sponsored by the Linux Foundation), our firm helps its clients create high quality open source compliance programs in conformance with the OpenChain ISO 5230 standard. Our legal experts work closely with clients to help create open source security and compliance programs designed to protect proprietary and patentable innovations while addressing open source security and license compliance. We have extensive experience on both the buy and sell sides of mergers and acquisitions, and we help position our clients’ IP assets to maximize value and minimize issues during rigorous due diligence.

The Hamilton Brook Smith Reynolds Open Source Team consists of patent attorneys with software expertise who are recognized as Black Duck Certified Legal Specialists. We provide cost-effective legal advice relating to open source issues, and we look forward to addressing your company’s open source needs.

Hamilton Brook Smith Reynold Intellectual Property Attorneys are Uniquely Skilled at Advising on Open Source Compliance.

Contact any one of our attorneys on the Open Source Team

Mary Lou Wakimura - Chair of the Board of Directors and Principal 
Giovanna Fessenden - Counsel
Mark Solomon - President and Principal
Lawrence Cogswell, Ph.D. - Principal
Alexander Adam, Ph.D. - Principal
Timothy Meagher - Principal