Open Source, IP and Patent Pledges:

Amanda Brock, Visiting Research Fellow, Centre of Commrecial Law Studies, Queen Mary and Westfield, UK

This article considers the use of patent promises or pledges, as a device to counter what are often seen in the Open Source world as undesirable consequences of the operation of the patent system. They have become particularly topical in 2017, as the world’s first billion dollar Open Source company, Red Hat, extended it’s patent pledge further in September 2017.

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United Kingdom IT IT December 2017 Vol.11, No. 41, Autumn 2017

Amanda Brock

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Amanda Brock, European Representative, Open Invention Network Sept 2017 A senior in-house lawyer, Amanda was most recently Associate General Counsel, Digital Financial Services working in emerging markets at the MNO Veon and as a European Representative of the defensive patent pool, the Open Invention Network. Having been General Counsel, Canonical – lead commercial sponsor of the open source operating system Ubuntu and open stack cloud partner - for 5 years, she set up and managed the global legal function. Her tech and digital experience is diverse and includes software, cloud computing, big data, IOT, new governance models in the sharing economy, e-business, data and privacy, FinTech and device manufacture and distribution. Her experience of digital and IT law spans more than 15 years and a range of sectors, with roles as European Manager at DSG International where she was the first lawyer at the ISP, Freeserve (UK’s first and biggest .com IPO) and as part of the Digital Transformation team, UK Legal Director, Aramark and General Counsel Nicole Farhi & French Connection and General Counsel of a major Data Centre provider, her experience lends itself to her very commercial approach to legal advice. As a solicitor, she is admitted in England and Wales and in Scotland and has a Masters in IP and IT law from Queen Mary and a Masters in Comparative Jurisprudence from New York University. Amanda has been a Visiting Research Fellow at Queen Mary and was a founder of the QM Legal Incubator Q:Legal. A regular speaker at international academic, legal and business conferences she has also written extensively on open source, tech and commercial law, and is the author of “E-Business: A Practical Guide to the Laws” (2 editions) and the commercial agreements section of the Oxford University Press’ “Free and Open Source Software, Policy, Law and Practice”.

Centre of Commrecial Law Studies, Queen Mary and Westfield

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Open source software has been one of the greatest sources of innovation. Open source developers have built excellent software solutions for business, education and personal use. Free and open source programs give companies, schools, governments and users more choices, ensuring that they are getting the best possible technology for their needs. Unfortunately, the last decade has seen an enormous rise in software patent suits. Open source developers aren’t any more immune to this threat than other software vendors. However, the culture and innovation modality of open source software, based on engagement and sharing, made it natural to build a collective defensive solution to protect and enable it. The Open Invention Network is a shared defensive patent pool with the mission to protect Linux. Launched in 2005, OIN has strong industry support with backing from Google, IBM, NEC, Philips, Red Hat, Sony and SUSE. Any company, project or developer that is working on Linux, GNU, Android or any other Linux-related software is welcome to join OIN, free of charge or royalties. www.openinventionnetwork.com

United Kingdom IT IT December 2017 Vol.11, No. 41, Autumn 2017