Smithline PC - What We Do

OVERVIEW: We advise clients on the legal aspects of using open source both internally and as part of their proprietary products. We also advise companies on making contributions to open source projects and releasing code under open source licenses.

Do you use open source software?

Whether the code is a development tool, back-end database or library in your latest mobile app, your company is almost certainly using open source software.  With millions of lines of code available online and over a hundred open source licenses in common use, it is critical that your company understand the legal implications of the decision to use open source.  We offer training, briefers, a comprehensive license matrix and client-specific counseling to help your company systematize its approach to open source software.

Do you plan to incorporate third party open source into your proprietary product?

Distributing open source code as part of your product can have unexpected consequences for your proprietary codebase, patent portfolio and liability to downstream users. The risks depend in part on which open source license is used, so you need a clear understanding of what each license says and a plan to manage use of open source by your developers.  We can train your legal and development teams on open source issues and help you create policies for open source approval.

Do you want to distribute your own code under an open source license?

If you manage an open source project (or product), we can help you choose the right license and contribution agreements, advise on license compatibility issues and otherwise help develop the best legal framework for your offering. We also counsel “dual-license” open source vendors that offer both proprietary and open source products and services.

TYPES OF OPEN SOURCE SERVICES:

Our open source services include:

  • License Matrix: a comprehensive matrix categorizing all major open source licenses. See Example.
  • Briefer Series: a multi-part series covering open source from basics to the most complex issues
  • Policy Creation Guide: a step-by-step guide to help you create the right open source policy for your company
  • Custom Training and Presentations: on-site presentations addressing your company’s specific open source questions and needs
  • Advice: we advise clients on all aspects of open source use and distribution

“We have great trust and respect for their work. Their turnaround times and availability are awesome. Most importantly, they really understand our SaaS business.”

– Joe Whitty, VP Finance, Moovweb

“Their knowledge of the law and complex IP negotiations is stunning and their turn-around times are impressively fast.”

– Steve Woolven, President of Applanix (Trimble)

“We can count on Smithline PC for insightful feedback, judgment and guidance for any deal. They have become trusted business partners for Adobe’s growing business.”

– Joe Ramirez, VP Licensing & AGC, Adobe Systems

“Pragmatic advisers on the leading edge of licensing, software and technology.”

– Keenan Conder, General Counsel, Tableau Software

What's New

Elastic Switches Licenses (Again)

Elastic has announced that new releases of its Elasticsearch and Kibana products will be under the “Elastic License 2.0”. The change comes on the heels of Elastic’s source code switch from Apache 2.0 to the Server-Side Public License (SSPL) in January, 2021.... MORE +

License Change Alert: Elasticsearch Moves to SSPL

Elastic recently announced that new source code releases of Elasticsearch and Kibana, its popular search and visualization offerings, will no longer be offered under the permissive Apache 2.0 license. Instead, they will be dual-licensed under the MongoDB-created Server Side Public License (SSPL) and Elastic’s proprietary Elastic License. Read more about the change and implications for […]... MORE +

Will Moseley Promoted to Senior Associate

We are pleased to announce that Will Moseley has been promoted to Senior Associate. Will joined the firm in 2017 from Fenwick & West and has been a standout in handling our most complex client projects. We congratulate Will on taking this great next step forward with the firm!... MORE +