Open Source Licenses and the Freedom To Innovate! What Do Open Source Licenses Mean To You?

Jan 13, 2021

Many people now working from home or who are out of work have begun to use their time for innovation. Whether it’s writing, inventing, or creating a new software, many have new products that they may be considering marketing and wondering about legal terms that they may have heard on the internet. If you are wading into the world of innovation and looking to patent your own work, you may come across the term “open source” and wonder what it means.

“Open Source” refers to a licensing agreement that allows others to build upon an existing work to create and innovate in new ways in the hope of encouraging a free exchange of ideas. Most frequently you will hear this term in relation to computer software, but the concept can also be applied to the medical field, teaching techniques, or other fields such as fashion design. Others can use these products without licensing fees and can distribute the original product.

Why Do Creatives Choose an Open Source License?

Creatives generally choose to create open source products to foster a sense of innovation. A computer scientist might create an open source program to create a video game that enables an artist to create a game for others to enjoy. In addition to creating new media, an open source license enables different creatives to all contribute to and learn from a work, benefiting everyone. In the case of software, this will in time strengthen and improve the original software. Many growing businesses may choose to create open source products as a means to market themselves and build credibility in their industries.

What Can I Do With An Open Source Product?

Many people will begin a project using open source products. It is much easier to create when you are able to use an existing framework; but what can you do with your new work made from open source products? If you have created a new product using an existing open source product, you may not be able to patent your new work. Any works based on an Open Source work may also be required to be open source and allow derivative work by others. You can still profit from these works, but the licensing agreements can be complicated to navigate. You will likely benefit from legal assistance.

Let Garcia-Zamor Help!

Are you looking at your new work, wondering what sort of licensing applies and would be the best for you? Contact us at Garcia-Zamor to receive help from our experienced team of attorneys to make sure that you understand all of the legal ties when it comes to launching a new product and figuring out what licensing and patent options might be applicable to your situation. Reach out and know that your legal needs are our priority.