Copyright Versus Patents: The Open Source Software Legal Battle

20 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2007  

Francois Leveque

École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris - Centre d'Économie Industrielle (CERNA)

Yann Ménière

Mines ParisTech

Abstract

Open Source Software is often viewed as an anti-intellectual property regime. In contrast, we argue how intellectual property law is at the heart of open source model since licenses that organize the innovation and business relationships between developers, distributors and end-users are based on copyright law. The proliferation of software patents can, however be seen as a threat for the development and deployment of open source software. We present the nature of the threat and review a series of initiatives undertaken by the open source community to address them effectively. These initiatives, such as the redesign of licenses and the creation of patent commons, are a testiment to a genuinely creative use of intellectual property law by the open source community, not its undermining.

Keywords: Copyright, patent, open source software

Suggested Citation

Leveque, Francois and Ménière, Yann, Copyright Versus Patents: The Open Source Software Legal Battle. Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 21-46, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=997191

Francois Leveque (Contact Author)

École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris - Centre d'Économie Industrielle (CERNA) ( email )

60, boulevard Saint Michel
75272 Paris Cedex 06, 75272
France

Yann Ménière

Mines ParisTech ( email )

60, bd St Michel
Paris, 75006
France

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