Copyright protects original works of authorship such as music and works of art – pretty much anything that is a written down or in a fixed medium.  Similarly, software source code is also protected by copyright laws, giving those individuals who wrote the code the ability to covey (i.e. license) their copyrights in the source code.

The University will seek licensing opportunities in those instances that the University has an ownership interest in the copyrights/software and where a commercial opportunity has been identified.  See the inventorship ownership flowchart to learn more.

Exploring the opportunity to leverage developed software for licensing or startup activities begins with completion of the Software/App Disclosure Form.


Open Source

We can help to navigate the issues that commonly arise with the use of open source components and also help to determine paths forward that are supportive of the long-term goals of the University and developers alike, particularly in cases where the University may have an ownership interest.


Considerations for Open Source

In some instances, particularly in cases where developed software may be useful to a more limited or niche market, there may be interest in pursuing an Open Source release of the software.  More information on Open Source releases may be found below. It’s important to understand what Open Source components may be integrated into proprietary software, as the requirements of the associated open source license(s) can have implications on the opportunity for pursuing licensing and patent protection.

Requesting an Open Source Release

Prior to releasing your software, it’s important to complete the Open Source Release Request Form to ensure that you are empowered (able) to do so. In particular, it’s important to be aware of any sponsor/funding-related encumbrances that may prevent pursuing an open source release.

Open Source Release Workflow

Once you have completed the Open Source Release Request Form and received necessary approvals, further guidance on how to complete the release may be found here.

The Open Source License Disclaimer should also be included as part of the release.

General Disclaimer for Use with OSS Licenses FNL

Open Source Resources

More information and resources on Open Source licenses, license selection, and how to evaluate license compatibility may be found below:

Open Source – External Resources & Tools

General Information

What is Open Source?

Open Source Licenses

Overview of Standard/Popular Licenses

Generally Accepted Licenses

Open Source License Selection

Choosing an Appropriate License

License Differentiator – Interactive License Selection Tool

Tabular Comparison of License Terms

Software Licenses in Plain English


License Compatibility