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Project Title

Corporate Patent Donations and Their Effect on Open Source Software Projects


Dr. Oliver Alexy, Imperial College London

Dr. Markus Reitzig, London Business School

Sunyoung Lee, London Business School

Project Abstract

This project is part of a larger research endeavor in which we seek to understand the motivations for, and implications of, corporate patent "donations" made (more precisely: commitments not to enforce patents against) the open source software (OSS) community. Using econometric techniques we intend to test one specific set of hypotheses pertaining to the effects of patent donations using data; namely, we would like to understand and possibly quantify how the removal of proprietary technology barriers increased the productivity within those OSS projects that were possibly hampered by the existence of patent roadblocks before private intellectual property rights were donated. Using raw data (e.g. number of patches programmed for projects related to the Linux kernel in a given month). We then intend to compare these activity measures characterizing the OSS projects of our choice before and after patent donation.