Dr Michael P. Ryan: Open Source Software and Intellectual Property Rights

Excerpts from Dr Michael P. Ryan’s Foreword to Open Source Software and Intellectual Property Rights (Wolters Kluwer 2014) by Dr Vikrant Narayan Vasudeva

“Industrial innovations have transformed economic and social life by enabling capabilities. Industrial innovations carried out in societies with good institutions enable new capabilities to know more, organize better, and promote social goods. Advances in computing were among the most important industrial innovations; advances in computing drive post-industrial economic and social progress. Advances in industrial era computing owed to innovations in the products and processes of the manufacture of computing hardware; advances in post-industrial era computing owe to innovations in the products and processes of the manufacture of computing hardware and to innovations in the products and processes of the creation of computing software.”

“Mr. Vasudeva studies in this monograph the institutions of intellectual property rights for open source software. He explains that two paradigms of software creation co-exist, a proprietary paradigm and an open source paradigm. He explains that both software creation paradigms rest their legal legitimacies in the marketplaces on intellectual property rights. The institutions of intellectual property rights—trade secrets, patents, copyrights, and trademarks—all provide rules of the road for software creators. He focuses attention on how the institutions of trade secrets, patents, copyrights, and trademarks influence open source software developments. He contends that the details of the institutions matter and he provides detailed investigations of how the four differing institutions engage open source software development.”

“Mr. Vasudeva has carried out a thorough reading of the extensive legal commentary regarding open source software and intellectual property rights. I initiated those labors when I recruited him, when I was leading a center focused on emerging economies and he was a Master of Law student George Washington University Law School, to study and summarize the scholarship. Mr. Vasudeva, after completing his studies, continued these efforts at the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition, and later at the Japanese Patent Office. It is the benefit of studies carried out in the United States, Europe and Japan, as well as from perspective of an advocate working in the chamber of the former Solicitor General of India that enable Mr. Vasudeva to bring to his monograph a special global perspective.”

“Mr. Vasudeva concludes that the open source software paradigm will continue to co-exist with the proprietary software development paradigm. He argues that the open source paradigm complements, not supplants, the proprietary model. However, he argues for sui generis intellectual property rights laws to best facilitate open source software development. His arguments for intellectual property rights law reforms with respect to software merit careful study and reflection. He contends that open source software development provides people in developing countries with special opportunities to participate in local and global product creation. Mr. Vasudeva argues for continuing harmonization of the intellectual property rights institutions globally. With good institutions, he sees a bright future for open source software development.”

The book is available at Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Source-Software-Intellectual-Property-Rights/dp/9041152288