In some circumstances, it may make sense to commercialise software in conjunction with releasing software under an Open Source licence, rather than just providing the source code for free. The potential benefits can include:
- Funding for research from commercial partners;
- Development and expertise contributed from a commercial partner to improve and/or productise the software and result in an increased uptake of the product;
- Increased marketing and distribution infrastructure from commercial partners;
- Net proceeds from commercialisation flowing back to the department and personally to researchers under the University of Sydney (Intellectual Property) Rule 2002.
To help us commercialise your software, you can report the software to Sydnovate using a Software Disclosure form (doc).
We recommend that care be taken when using or incorporating Open Source software to University developed software so as to not jeopardise any potential future commercialisation opportunities.
Each situation is unique when combining Open Source licences with commercialisation. Sydnovate would be very pleased to assist you in determining the preferred model. Some examples of different commercialisation options include:
- Services model: the software is provided free under an Open Source licence and a fee is charged for support and services. This model is often not suitable or desirable for a University; however, the opportunity may exist for the University to license the software to a company to commercialise on this basis.
- Dual licensing model: a limited functionality version of the software is provided free under an Open Source licence whilst a version with more advanced functionality or warranties or sub-licensing flexibility is provided for a fee.
- Trade Mark model: the software is provided free under an Open Source licence, however, licensees pay for the use of a Trade Mark associated with the software.
- Membership model: the software is provided free under an Open Source licence, however, only to organisations that pay a membership fee.
Commercialisation may include a combination of two or more of the examples above.