OSE Meeting: IP Legal Discussion and Education with Andrew Rens & Catharina Maracke

Contact -

September 3, 2013

IP Legal Discussion and Education with Andrew and Catharina

OSE Requirements

  1. Duration - permanent protection of IP. Sharing documentation of copy must be for full term of copyright (life of author + 70yrs). Could be just link (must endure) or thumb drive. (May need to think more about best practice.)
  2. Protected Parties - In general, bilateral - or both developer and user of any sort is protected. Protects users of technology, builders of technology from potential patent suit against them; downstream users, on-demand manufacturers and commercial producers. Protects developers from any issue resulting from other individuals or corporations producing the product. Protects OSE from any foreseeable lawsuits. Protects people inside and outside organization. (Can protect only involved parties. Cannot protect a patent troll - someone who doesn’t use or contribute). (SEO case brought up) (Both licenses already protect OSE and people providing initial copyright and limitation of liability.
  3. Branding - Includes a logo and clear branding of license
  4. Follows OSHWA definition of open hardware, but is more specific about sufficiency requirements for full documentation by citing examples of specific hardware.
  5. Allows for licensing of components that are open source, within larger harware artifacts that may not be open source. Distinction must be made for which part of the overall artifact is open source. (With CC-SA - what constitutes a derivative? Definition of Derivative.)
  6. Documentation - no requirements for sending updates/emails to any developers, but just providing a link to a repository, which could be any repository. Email address to be included in case repository fails. OSE must provide a clear link to its documentation from its website.
  7. Search Standards - Standardized taxonomy is to be developed for documentation. License encourages standards for findability and taxonomy if someone uses a repository other than OSE repository
  8. Interoperable Repositories - License encourages other repositories for other projects - while encouraging above standards for findability and taxonomy - to allow repositories to be interoperable/remixable.
  9. Registry or Indexing. Requires posting of link to project to a registered location. License framework creates a framework for a registry of hardware projects following the OSE license, and creates a framework for 3rd party verification of verifying OSE license. Some taxonomy must be included. Registry and repo location don’t need to be same. Would require setup of registry prior to license - adds time.
  10. Specifications for documentation - we are currently in the process of refining the specific taxonomy for all documentation content in 2 categories: (1) absolutely mandatory content that any OSE-Licensed product must have to assure full replicability of a hardware artifact; (2) nice-to-have content that assists in continued development, but is not necessary to the replication per se
  11. File Format - Documentation must be in open file format, but may allow proprietary formats if no other open format exists. Encourages closed formats to be submitted with aim that closed formats may be converted to open formats by other contributors. Needs to define open format. If you use any format, it must be openable, unlockable.
  12. Layers - Involves 3 layers - software (GPL) (any FSF-compatible license), hardware, and media (CC-BY-SA). Define acceptable licenses for each. For CC any free culture license is acceptable. (without NC) is acceptable. (Implement a default in form where you upload your work to a registry)
  13. Amendment of License - license is versioned, and any product using license must display specific license version. License at time of publishing will apply - intent: more certainty - with ability to select auto upgrade.. License may be amended by OSE according to a specific protocol, to be defined. (advantage to licensor is simplicity of managing licenses). Subsequent licenses must be approved by a 3rd party protector, such as OSHWA.
  14. Versioning - versions of hardware artificts must be versioned clearly, with version number in a specified format (TBD)
  15. Commits - A specific process for commits involves the Founder and 'lieutenants' equivalent of the linux model. Process to be defined specifically. Official commits are found at repository. Commit control may be assigned to specific parties as project grows.
  16. Repository - official OSE repository is held by OSE or its assigns; other repositories are encouraged for other projects. This may be up for discussion.
  17. Explicit allowance of commercial use, including on-demand manufacturing
  18. Explicit ethical stand on Distributive Enterprise - or open publishing of enterprise blueprints based on the hardware artifacts
  19. Specific license is needed for producers - to be granted by OSE for those wishing to use the OSE trademark - similar to Arduino model. Terms to be specified, requires payment to maintain the licensing infrastructure.
  20. Licensing to others involves a quality control protocol.
  21. OSE products under OSE label go through an internal and external quality control process, to be defined.
  22. Any OSE-licensed product must be shipped with a clear link to documentation
  23. Product warranty requires that any manufacturer provide only operations/safety/maintenance information, and it only suggests that a service infrastructure be created for products sold
  24. Patents - I would like patents to be replaced with a court test case of the OSE license

Meetings Minutes: 

In the meantime - interim protocol, including hardware under TAPR. We can relicense because of outbound agreement. Interim protocol plus longer process. Need repos and registry up and running.

Next: Andrew writes by - within a week for interim - language to address interim condition, and contacts Jennifer. Next is details for drafting committee - or the registry and requirements.

[10:30:55] Andrew  Rens:

[11:01:14] Catharina Maracke: at least their page is up again

Duration - Length of the undertaking, for in terms of which people have to make available the documentation. Want the obligation to share is during the full term of the copyright  is life plus 70 years.

Is there a dis

June 17, 2013

Copyright happens automatically (so with software) so the rights are given to you whether you like it or not. You can issue a license with the rights if you choose.

The same thing applies to art or creative work, you can place a creative commons license making it open.


Hardware is different, if you make the design of a machine (if it is in anyway different then any machine that has gone before it, then it is copyright on it, in the US if there is an esthetic design of the machine it will be copyright, BUT in the US the utilitarian piece of the design will not be protected.

You can also protect a design using patents.


If you create a semiconductor then you will automatically have a copyright for 3-5 years in the US.


Creative Commons License is great, but not entirely effective on its own. You can be sued under patent or design rights for using something under Creative Commons License.


What is needed is Creative Commons Licenses, that will have a caveat saying, if someone gets patent or design on their design they won’t sue the user of the design.


Analogy – Microsoft, Google get together to make a standard. SO, they have legal verbiage that protects each other from getting sued when trying to comply to a standard.

OSE needs to grant the Creative Commons License, but also say that if users comply to the creative commons license they the original designer will not sue the user under patent and design rights!


As soon as a machine is published, you have about a year to get patent and design rights. At the USPTO they search registries and prior designs, but they don’t search open source.


People routinely get patents over prior art…which should not happen. It happens when patent examiners give patents over prior art. SO, the legal verbiage is giving them assurance that when someone gets a patent over the prior art (which should not happen) the person getting the patent will not sue the user using the patent they should not have received in the first place.


Theoretically the improvements should only be patentable – correct

In practice, the prior art is patented – wrong, but reality


Inbound – whatever set of legal rights I give you

Outbound – whatever set of legal rights you pass on – need outbound rights for all out contributors

Some open source projects use Inbound = Outbound

Not a good idea for OSE because don’t know what the outbound license looks like! Because we need the assurances that users will not be sued. Andrew will assist us with this initial draft, but recommends 6-9 months to write a more thorough license. can customize the license for OSE and down the road (once tested) it can be available for more customization.


Andrew recommends, Jennifer Urban at Berkeley Law School, to assist us. Berkley Law School has a clinic to deal with IP. In September timeframe she can start to help up (possibly) – so more of a year from now…researched by many lawyers.  

1) Licence from Andrew

2) Licence - recommends OSE to write into the agreement that we are allowed to apply for patents if needed

3) Work with Jennifer Urban and her students at Berkeley Law School to create a more thorough license

4) Re-license everything under the 3) license

You can trade patents: Cross patent < this is a positive for applying for patents

Say you need 100 patents for your tractor

John Deer has 5000 patents

If you work with someone on a design, the license needs to ensure that (not only do they have the copyright) they have the right to apply for the patent so that someone does not go get the patent for themselves, which in turn limits your use of the design

Twitter Clause - twitter said they would apply for patents, but only to be used as a defensive mechanism < Catharina recommends to not get into this right now...over complicate things

What will the outbound license look like?

        Wiki is confusing - many license mentions

                Creative Commons License

                CC-BY-SA - use in a community that prefers a viral nature


1) Track - Catharina is POC for this (Contributor Agreement) > Inbound Contributor Agreement - Creative Commons-BY-SA (as a matter of practice) and Creative Commons-BY - very specific and private contract between OSE and every contributor

2) Track - Andrew and (eventually) Jennifer Urban are the POCs -Outbound- should meet the contributors’ needs - OSE will issue a license in compliance with the OSHW definition

Contributors Agreement - everyone must sign

Wiki - if sign up on wiki - need to sign OSE Contributors Agreement AND if you are just reading and taking things off the wiki then they need to sign an outbound agreement (Andrew is writing)

Certain Jurisdictions will require hard copy signatures - which would make us vulnerable in those jurisdictions (179 jurisdictions total) Not something that we can really deal with now.

Andrew is sending us a list

Reconnect 8 JULY!

Hear from Catharina and Andrew beforehand!

July 8, 2013

OSE Contributor Agreement

Must email copies to South Africa and Portugal

Ask people to warrant that they are the copyright owner > you would have to have copied me to have a copyright violation...while it may be innocent, it is much harder to copy a copyright.

How do I know if I have the copyright...if you did not copy someone then you own the copyright?
Patents, you cannot avoid this. It is possible to come up with the same idea, one that is already protected by the patent.

To protect ourselves we need two entities - one to protect the land if we violate the above

Notes regarding Section 2.1

Two jurisdictions: Europe and everywhere else

Everywhere else allows for the possibility of Assignment - contributor transfers all the rights to OSE project (in Europe, this is not possible, so this part of the agreement is an exclusive license) - the broader view

The moment we get rejection of pushback (regarding Assignment) then we can change the agreement to License instead of Assignment

License - more restrictive than Assignment - contributor maintains the License, but OSE is allowed to use it

August 5, 2013

To Do

1) Past Contributor Agreements (CA) - Need to know that ~98% of contributors have agreed before putting the Outbound Open Hardware License (OOHL) in place

2) Open Source Ecology create a social standard to say, this is how we believe open source should be; this is how we implement open source

See Daniel Gonzales - Patent Strategy Tools 

Share alike

Use 1 of 2 or create our own license:


End users - individuals - protects downstream user

Documentation* - you promise to mail, provide through URL for 3 years, open file format with new and original documentation, must email out modification to all licensees

Summary of changes

New documentation in full

Original documentation in full

*OSE Documentation amendment- would requirement link to a single repository, making documentation accessible - original documentation is not necessary

On Demand Manufacturing* (ODM) - (Skype broke up) - protect people who print on demand, reassuring them that they are protected

*OSE’s ODM amendment - explicit allowance wrt ODM

        Warranty - assures anyone who contributes will not be liable down the line

        Licensing - need to put “all later versions specified” otherwise anyone who remixes must keep it under the original license, so if it goes out at 1.0, if any new versions come out then they are under 1.0


End users - firms -protects firms that may want to control the patent later

Documentation - must distribute documentation, no format preference

        On Demand Manufacturing - CERN says nothing

        Warranty - assures anyone who contributes will not be liable down the line

        Licensing - automatic