Open Source Software: Coexistence and strategic use of patents

28. april 2020

By Kristian Henningsson, Partner at HØIBERG – European Patent Attorneys and Mats Skjelvik Hole, Trainee at HØIBERG – European Patent Attorneys

A patent gives its holder an exclusive right to prohibit others from using, making and selling the invention covered by the patent. A basic advantage of patenting inventions is thus to get a competitive advantage. As the perceived alternative, an Open Source Software (OSS) licence supposedly enables anyone to use and improve on the piece of software concerned, which in the end means higher quality software. Other advantages of OSS include lower costs, no vendor lock-in and more flexible customisation. There is little doubt that for some projects, there are significant benefits to adopting an open source strategy.

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