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November 2014

“Open Source” to be Discussed at Jan. 23 Santa Clara University High Tech Law Symposium

The Legalities and Limits of Allowing the Public to Modify Source Code will be Discussed

On Jan. 23, 2015, the Santa Clara High Tech Law Journal will bring together prominent scholars, practitioners, and entrepreneurs to discuss Open Source in the Legal Field.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Nov. 12, 2014 –  With Facebook, Google, Twitter and other tech giants teaming up to advance open-source software, and companies like Tesla embracing the spirit of the open-source trend, legal questions abound about the uses and limitations of software licenses that allow the public to modify, re-use and profit from the source code.

On Jan. 23, 2015, the Santa Clara High Tech Law Journal will bring together prominent scholars, practitioners, and entrepreneurs to discuss Open Source in the Legal Field.  The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at Benson Memorial Center Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, Calif. The agenda is available at

The event will feature two keynote speakers including Jono Bacon,  senior director of community at XPRIZE, the initiative seeking to use open-source concepts and monetary prizes to solve major world problems. Bacon will speak in the afternoon about “Building Exponential Communities.”  Attorney Andrew Hall of Fenwick & West will speak in the morning on “Open-Source Licensing and Business Models: Making Money by Giving It Away.”

Open-source software utilizes licenses that allow anyone to use or modify the code. Some licenses require enhancements or changes made to the code to be passed on to the public for free, while other licenses allow the changes to be more proprietary.

The trend raises myriad legal issues for companies engaging in open source, including complications in securing trademarks, barriers to nonprofit status, and questions about commercialization.   

The Jan. 23 symposium will cover such topics as well as:

*Managing patent portfolio rights in an open-source landscape
*The commercialization of open-source software
*Trademark policies consistent with open-source culture
*Open-source issues in the music and video game industry

Media are invited to attend by RSVPing to Deborah Lohse of SCU Media Relations at

The event will be targeted at practitioners from areas including trademarks, patents, entertainment, and medical field, among others. Two concurrent tracks will follow the keynote speakers. Panel speakers, who will present and participate in Q&A, are: 

Track One:

* Ibrahim Haddad, head of the Open Source Innovation Group at Samsung: Doing compliance the right way: an overview on setting up an open-source compliance program and institutionalizing best practices.
* Lawrence Rosen, Rosenlaw & Einschlag: Commercialization of open source.
* Luis Villa, deputy general counsel and Yana Welinder, legal counsel, Wikimedia Foundation: Development of Wikimedia’s trademark policy, and the underlying tension between trademarks and open collaboration.

Track Two:

* David Uhlman, CEO of ClearHealth: Open source in the medical field: Common legal challenges that arise in medical practice.
* Heather Meeker, O’Melveny & Myers: Software patents and open-source software, including how open-source licenses can be used as strategic and tactical weapons in patent litigation.
* John Shaeffer, Lathrop & Gage: Open-source gaming and music production: Issues of access and protecting legal rights.

To register for the 2014 High Tech Law Journal Symposium, please visit  Attendance is limited. For questions about the Symposium, please contact Maru Rabinovitch at

About the High Tech Law Journal
The High Tech Law Journal at Santa Clara is a student-run organization that has become one of the most prominent publishers of high-tech-related legal research and commentary in the country. Over its 30-year history, the Journal has built an impressive academic audience, and provides law student associates and editors with a chance to contribute directly to articles and publications that will shape the leading edge of policy, regulation, and jurisprudence.

Media Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | | 408-554-5121


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