Jacobsen v. Katzer, from the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Jacobsen v. Katzer – AltLaw.

This is a case from the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (which holds exclusive jurisdiction over patent appellate matters) that considers the intersection of copyright and licensing law. Is it possible for a copyright holder to dedicate certain work to free public use and yet enforce an A open source @ copyright license to control the future distribution and modification of that work?

Here, the plaintiff holds a copyright that he dedicated to the public domain through open-source licensing. The license for open-source technology, though, has a catch (the source of all open-source code must be acknowledged in downstream works), and the downstream users have to comply with the catch or be caught infringing the open-source license.

IP Audit a Necessity for Due Diligence

What IS an IP audit, anyway?

An IP audit is a systematic categorization of all of your business’s intellectual property, including but not limited to:

  • Inventions (patented and unpatented)
  • Copyrights (registered and unregistered)
  • Trademarks (registered and unregistered)
  • Trade Dress (registered and unregistered)
  • Trade Secrets (obviously unregistered)

This categorization, with a simultaneous search for areas where your IP may have “holes,” is done by an intellectual property attorney in cooperation with your firm’s management team; despite the word “audit,” this is NOT an accounting function (although certainly an accountant belongs on your firm’s management team and probably on the IP audit team).

Use an IP audit as due diligence when you plan to merge, divest, buy, sell, create, license, franchise your property. Also use an IP audit when there has been a shift in the law that governs IP.

For more information about IP audits, read Nancy’s article, published in the December 2003 issue of Les Nouvelles (the flagship publication of the Licensing Executives’ Society), The Intellectual Property Audit (.pdf format) or visit our IP Audit webpage.