July 20–24, 2015
Portland, OR

Steal this open source policy!

Van Lindberg (Dykema)
10:40am–11:20am Thursday, 07/23/2015
Collaboration D139/140
Average rating: ****.
(4.50, 2 ratings)

Prerequisite Knowledge

Basic knowledge about intellectual property.


Rackspace recently reworked all of its intellectual property policies, with an eye to making them as friendly as possible to community participation while still retaining enough protection for the company. This presentation will tell the story of how we worked through the concerns of the legal team and various business owners to put in place one of the most developer-friendly policies in the industry.

Attendees will get a copy of the policy itself, which will be annotated via the presentation to discuss issues like the interaction of open source and trade secrets, patents and patent policy, the use of “company resources,” and conflicts of interest.

The presentation will conclude with a “how-to” discussion of selling a community-friendly policy to managers and lawyers, including the necessary buzzwords and metrics to show that a good open source policy helps everyone.

Photo of Van Lindberg

Van Lindberg


Van Lindberg has worked professionally as an engineer, as a lawyer, and as an executive. He currently has a dual legal/technical role at Rackspace, and has worked out of both the legal department and the office of the CTO. In April 2012, the American Bar Association Journal named Van as one of “America’s Top 12 Techiest Attorneys.” On the legal side, Van leads Rackspace’s Intellectual Property program, directing Rackspace’s strategy and policy around patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, and open source matters. Van also heads Rackspace’s lobbying efforts relative to patent reform. On the technical side, Van runs Rackspace’s technical leadership corps. Van also works in technical strategy and ecosystem engagement at Rackspace, identifying emerging technologies, separating out differentiating versus non-differentiating product elements, and using open source strategies to be more competitive.

Previously, Van worked at the law firm of Haynes and Boone, where he wrote Intellectual Property and Open Source, published by O’Reilly, and grew an open source practice helping businesses with everything from open source compliance to business strategy. In addition to Van’s open source practice, he did IP transactional work, patent prosecution, litigation, and post-grant actions (ex parte and inter partes reexams/reviews).

Van currently serves as chairman of the board of the Python Software Foundation, on the board of the OpenStack Foundation, and as the chair of the Docker Governance Advisory Board. Prior to law school, Van was a research and development engineer at NTT/Verio, where he built automation tools and distributed systems. His favorite language is Python.