Open Source Intellectual Property Issues

“Many intellectual property issues arise when “open source” software is used, both because of the contractual restrictions that govern the use of the code, as well the absence of any intellectual property warranties that normally protect source code…

A licensee’s use of open source software obtained under the terms of the GPL in commercial software may create a “work” that must also be distributed under the terms of the GPL. In that case, the licensee would have no intellectual property or proprietary right to the work, no matter how much effort the licensee made to improve the “open source” code. This is the so-called “viral effect” of the GPL.

There are, however, ways to mitigate the “viral effect” of the GPL…using dynamic linking… [or] through the use of published application program interfaces (API)…”

Read more in this Woodcock Washburn newsletter.