Having just completed the annual IBM Intellectual Property training and while thinking more about the CodePlex Foundation, I saw the following Open World Forum conference track description:
The growing use of Open Source and economics of outsourcing have made testing for intellectual property (IP) cleanliness and proper satisfaction of legal obligations an essential task for ensuring quality and market acceptability. Real or perceived IP issues can delay product cycles and derail entire projects or business transactions.
Upon further digging, I realized that Protecode, a company I wrote about back in 2008, was playing a key role in this area.
[ Enterprises must also worry about what to do when developers take code snippets with them. | Stay up to speed with the open source community via InfoWorld's Technology: Open Source newsletter. ]
It goes without say that enterprises using open source code within their software development process should have policies in place to protect the enterprise. Clearly, there's a risk of contaminating a custom enterprise application by misusing open source code. But in most cases, the enterprise can be safeguarded unless the derivative work needs to be distributed outside of the enterprise's walls. With applications delivered over the Web, very few enterprises find the need to distribute their internally developed software. However, whether the enterprise is distributing the derivative work or not, there's also a risk of patent infringement.
That's where Protecode comes in with its three-pronged approach:
I wonder what portion of enterprises have analyzed their existing software assets to validate that they are in fact the rightful IP owners to the entirety of their internally developed software -- or better yet, what portion of enterprises that analyzed their software assets were surprised with the results!
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p.s.: I should state: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions."