Technology Standards and Open Source


Schwabe is at the forefront of creating and counseling technology standards-setting groups, open source software projects, and trade organizations throughout the world.
Aligning with the goals of a tech-industry initiative

Rapid developments in mobile, wireless, automotive, video, Internet of Things, data centers, ‎networking, security and virtual reality (as well as many other areas) demand ever-increasing levels of ‎interoperability. This need for interoperability drives the creation of new standards-setting groups, open source software projects, and trade organizations. Our lawyers play a leading role in helping these emerging bodies navigate the complex formation, governance, antitrust, tax and IP issues that surround their creation and success. We have acted as general counsel to many of the high-tech industry’s largest and most respected standards-setting groups and open source projects.

Our lawyers take the time to learn and understand the reasons behind each industry initiative and its underlying technology, in order to provide tailored, effective counsel. We assist in:

  • Determining the form of relationship between the organizers
  • Choosing the appropriate form of entity and/or governance structure
  • Seeking state and federal tax-exempt status
  • Establishing the rights and obligations of members and contributors
  • Developing policies for the contribution and licensing of intellectual property
Building consensus among competitors

We believe that practical solutions and consensus building are the cornerstones of success for standards-setting groups and open source software projects. Working closely with the legal teams from promoting companies, we help groups establish charters, resolve disagreements and maintain their governance. We shepherd clients through:

  • Specification adoption, publication and revision
  • Accepting contributions
  • Forming liaison and collaborative relationships with other organizations and projects
  • Creating and supporting community labs and open initiatives
  • Establishing certification and testing programs
  • Selecting, registering and enforcing certification marks on a worldwide basis
  • Marketing and event management
  • Intellectual property licensing, including free and open source software licensing
Counsel to leading businesses

We frequently serve as special counsel for major industry leaders and Fortune 500 companies as they evaluate and join or contribute to standards-setting organizations, open source software projects, contractual industry initiatives, and collaborative research projects with major educational and research institutions.

Supporting the life cycle of technology standards and open source software

We provide legal services throughout the life cycle of standards-setting organizations and open source software projects, beginning with formation and setting up governance structures, then developing intellectual property rights policies and/or selecting an appropriate open source license, updating these documents during the organization or project’s growth, mergers with strategically aligned entities, and finally, dissolution.


Provided general counseling services for:

  • Car Connectivity Consortium
  • Digital Living Network Alliance (formerly known as the Digital Home Working Group)
  • Entertainment ID Registry
  • GENIVI Alliance
  • The Green Grid Association
  • HDBaseT Alliance
  • HDMI Forum
  • HomeGrid Forum
  • Kantara Initiative, Inc.
  • Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF)
  • Mopria Alliance
  • NBASE_T Alliance
  • OCP-IP
  • Open Data Center Alliance
  • Open Connectivity Foundation, Inc.
  • Open Networking Foundation
  • OpenPOWER Foundation, Inc.
  • RVU Alliance
  • Serial ATA International Organization

 Acted as special counsel to industry leaders regarding participation in:

  • DIG 64
  • Digital Display Working Group
  • Open Source Development Lab, Inc. (Linux Foundation)
  • Trusted Computing Group
  • Trusted Computing Platform Alliance (TCPA)
  • Unified Display Interface
  • USB-IF Inc.

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