Open Source Patenting

11 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2005

See all articles by Sara Boettiger

Sara Boettiger


Dan L. Burk

University of California, Irvine School of Law


The open source and free software movements have used self-perpetuating copyright licenses to maintain open access to publicly distributed software. This model of licensing has now migrated to the field of biotechnology, where patents rather than copyrights dominate proprietary rights. Consequently, a model for open source patenting or free biotechnology presents a constellation of legal issues not typically found in previous open source licensing. This paper discusses several of these issues, including the nature of the rights transferred, the activities that may trigger the terms of the license, and the legal prohibitions on certain forms of licensing.

Keywords: open source, patents, licensing, intellectual property

JEL Classification: D23, D45, K19, K21, L43, O31, O32, 033

Suggested Citation

Boettiger, Sara and Burk, Dan L., Open Source Patenting. Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 05-7, Available at SSRN:

Sara Boettiger

Independent ( email )

Dan L. Burk (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )

4500 Berkeley Place
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States
949-824-9325 (Phone)

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