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Open Licenses for sharing your work

Balancing the rights of creators and users. Open licenses grant users some permissions to use and distribute a work, permission not granted by the default "all rights reserved" of copyright.

Patent and Trademark licenses

All types of Intellectual property can be openly licensed, including patents and trademarks. This is however relatively rare compared with Creative Commons and Open Software licenses.

One of the best known examples of an open patent, which are a patent that is freely shared with others often under a copyleft-like license. One of the most famous examples of an Open Patent is the three point seat belt invented by Volvo in 1959 and made freely available under an open patent in 1969. 

In 2001, Free Software Foundation and FSMLabs announced a GNU-GPL compliant open-patent license for FSMLabs software patent, US 599574

In 2005 Biological Open Source (BiOS) a project of Cambia  launched an open license for biological, and pharmaceutical inventions protected by biological patents. The key to BiOS instruments is that licensees cannot appropriate the fundamental "kernel" of a technology and improvements exclusively for themselves. The base technology remains the property of whichever entity developed it, and improvements can be shared with others that support the development commons around licensed technologies.

The WikiMedia Foundation openly licenses its trademark with very few restrictions. 

It is important to note that like some software licenses, these licenses are free in the sense of Free Speech not in the sense of Free Beer may have to pay to initially access the Intellectual Property. 

More Information about Patents and Trademarks

For more information about Patents and Trademarks, please see the WVU libraries research guide on Patents and the trademarks section of the Intellectual Property research guide.