DLA Piper

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What We Do

With more than 3,600 lawyers in 64 offices in 25 countries, we help companies around the world succeed by meeting their legal needs wherever they do business. We know that, in order for our advice and solutions to be effective, we need to engage completely with our clients to fully understand their businesses and their deeper legal needs. This means taking a long-term view and investing in relationships as well as in our own people, processes, and services.

Our clients include local, national, and global companies across a wide range of sectors, ranging from emerging businesses to some of the leading national and multinational companies.

We offer a wide range of services globally through 12 core Service groups including; Commercial Contracts, Corporate, Employment, Pensions, and Benefits, Finance, Intellectual Property, Litigation and Arbitration, Projects and Infrastructure, Real Estate, Regulatory and Government Affairs, Restructuring, Tax, and Technology and Media.

Open Source Practice Group

DLA Piper US LLP has one of the largest and most experienced Open Source Practice Groups in the U.S. Our Open Source Practice Group has assisted clients who are involved in virtually every segment of the rapidly growing open source community. We have assisted clients in developing and operating many different innovative open source business models and in developing strategies to realize the benefits from open source software. We also have assisted clients in managing the legal risks and in implementing best practices and policies related to open source software.

Open Source Clients

We have represented numerous clients in connection with open source issues. For example, the firm represented SugarCRM, the first open source application company, in their licensing and venture matters, and Sun Microsystems in developing the Common Development and Distribution License for Open Solaris. We have drafted many open source policies; provided open source due diligence assistance in connection with M&A, investment and other corporate transactions; drafted agreements to deal with open source issues and redistribution requirements; designed and implemented open source compliance programs, audited open source license agreements for existing implementations; advised clients with respect to government contract open source issues; drafted many contract provisions, warranties and representations to deal with open source obligations and issues; and counseled clients with respect to managing or participating in open source projects and launching open source products.

Open Source Lawyers

Our Open Source Practice Group is chaired by Mark Radcliffe, who also serves as the outside general counsel to the Open Source Initiative, the non-profit organization focused on promoting the open source model of software development and open source license approval and J.T. Westermeier. In addition to Mark Radcliffe and J. T. Westermeier, our Open Source Practice Group has other partners in different offices, and a number of associates with significant experience advising clients on open source issues. All of our open source partners are leaders in the open source area and have given presentations and published articles relating to open source legal issues.

Strategic Alliance

To better serve our open source clients, DLA Piper formed a strategic alliance with Olliance Group, a leading strategic consulting group on open source issues. This strategic alliance helps us to assist our clients in developing and implementing strategies to deal with the business, technical and risk management issues posed by open source software. Our strategic alliance with the Olliance Group is one of the many factors that distinguish our Open Source Practice Group from other legal open source software practices. Our collaboration with the Olliance Group professionals gives our clients access to relevant technical skills and practical systems experiences that are not available through most firms.

Open Source Business Strategies

We help clients develop business strategies respecting the development, use, modification, support and distribution of open source software including the implementation of new business models and dual distribution models based on both open source software and proprietary software and appropriate channels of distribution and licensing practices. We assist clients in developing revenue-generating business models related to the support, integration, training and other consulting services pertaining to open source software

Open Source Licenses

We assist clients in selecting appropriate open source licenses for the distribution of software our clients develop and in understanding our clients’ obligations under different open source licenses in connection with open source software they acquire or use in connection with a larger aggregate work they are distributing.

We assist clients in complying with open source licenses both on an internal basis and on an outgoing basis with respect to outbound licensing conditions. Redistribution may require redistribution of the existing open source license agreement, compliance with copyright notice and attribution requirements, pass through of warranty disclaimers and limitations on liability as well as other compliance requirements. With respect to open source licenses we assist clients in determining whether open source code is subject to an enforceable open source license agreement and advise clients regarding the distribution of open source software and related open source license so that the licensee affirmatively assents to be bound by the terms and conditions of the applicable open source license.

We also assist clients in adapting open source licenses, drafting open source licenses and obtaining certification for new open source licenses that have not been approved and in obtaining approved exceptions under existing licenses if necessary. We also draft agreements incorporating or referencing open source licenses and, otherwise, recognizing the unique aspects of open source software.

Intellectual Property Rights

We advise clients on intellectual property issues that arise in connection with the acquisition, use, modification, distribution or redistribution of open source software and in connection with other business models relating to open source software. Our firm has one of the five largest intellectual property practices in the U.S. and we have significant experience in handling intellectual property issues related to open source software.

Open Source Policies

We assist clients in developing and implementing policies relating to software development including the incorporation of or linking to open source code in the developed software and the use of open source software tools in the development process. We develop policies to avoid inadvertent use of open source software in proprietary software to manage the risks related to the “pedigree” of the software and unwanted outbound restrictions. We also help clients develop and implement policies to avoid incorporating proprietary program code in open source software. We assist clients in developing documentation policies to show what open source software is used in which products. We assist clients in developing policies relating to employee participation in open source projects, and in establishing and managing open source projects in the open source community.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Open source considerations may effect the representations, warranties, indemnities, value and structure of a merger, acquisition of other corporate transaction. We assist clients in complying with securities laws in describing their use of open source software.

Government Procurement

We help clients deal with open source issues related to government procurement. Our firm has one of the top three federal government procurement practices in the country and has significant experience with regard to open source issues in government procurement transactions.

For “unlimited rights” software developed under a government contract or with government funding we help clients develop appropriate open source models to license the “unlimited rights” software to government agencies and support the open source software thereafter. We assist clients in dealing with export control issues that relate to open source software.

Open Source Audits

We have developed an audit product with Olliance Group to assist clients in auditing their open source policies and practices and in conducting due diligence open source reviews of acquisition targets and potential investment opportunities.

In-House Training

We provide in-house training to management and legal departments with respect to the best legal practices regarding open source software. We structure training programs to meet the requirements of our clients.

Let us put our experience to work for you. If you are interested in learning more about DLA Piper’s Open Source Practice, please contact the following partners:

  • Palo Alto: Mark Radcliffe, Victoria Lee, Maureen Dorney
  • Reston: J.T. Westermeier
  • San Francisco: Stacy Snowman
  • Chicago: Vinny Sanchez
  • Austin: Jim Vickery
  • San Diego: Elisabeth Eisner; Mark Lehberg
For more informatino on DLA Piper, please visit our web site at: http://www.dlapiper.com.