LINUXWORLD - Linux group adds open-source lawyers to team

The Linux Foundation has named two well-known lawyers and open-source proponents to lead its legal team.

The Linux Foundation Wednesday revealed that two lawyers well-known in the open-source community will make up the legal team for the group, which is aimed at protecting the interests of Linux in the community.

Karen Copenhaver and Andrew Updegrove will serve as lawyers for the foundation, which was created in January with the merger of the Open Source Development Labs and the Free Standards Group. The group's mission is to promote, protect and standardize the operating system created by Linus Torvalds.

Copenhaver and Updegrove are no strangers to the Linux and open-source community. Copenhaver, an expert on open-source licensing, is a partner in the Boston firm Choate, Hall & Stewart's business & technology practice, and most recently served as executive vice president and general counsel at Black Duck Software, which offers IP (intellectual property) risk management and mitigation services and software.

Updegrove is a partner and founder of Gesmer Updegrove in Boston, and is best known for blogging about open source and open standards on his Standards Blog on the Consortiuminfo.org Web site he created and manages. Updegrove has received particular notoriety for his criticism of Microsoft in its quest to make its XML-based document format, Open XML, an international standard.

Hosting a strategy summit for the Linux Foundation members' in-house legal teams, which include representatives from Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel and Novell, is a first order of business for the foundation's legal leaders. The pair will also build a legal defense infrastructure for Linux so users of the OS can protect themselves from any legal challenges, a spokeswoman for the foundation's public relations firm said Wednesday.

Other tasks Copenhaver and Updegrove will oversee are the management of the Linux trademark and initiatives such as the Open Source as Prior Art project and the Patent Commons. The two also will oversee sponsorship of the Linux Legal Defense Fund.

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