Projects/Intellectual Property Report

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Program Description

This program brought together faculty from both the Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School. We discussed and examined how trends both in Europe, as well as on an international scale, have influenced global Intellectual Property (IP) management. The program focused on the integration of IP while taking into account an organization's unique strategic goals and considerations. Senior executives were able to get a broader understanding of how IP can contribute value to the firm by combining legal and strategic perspectives that encourage the implementation of the most effective approaches to IP management (Harvard, June 2013).

Why I attended

This course has interested me for some time. As the OWASP Projects Manager, I felt it was important to have an understanding of Intellectual Property Management as all of our projects are required to choose an Open/Commons license before they can become an OWASP Project. My primary objective was to become familiar with the different types of IP options that exist on an international level. Additionally, I planned to use this information to make better license option choices for our projects that not only protect our project leaders from potential liability, but that help our corporate and individual consumers have a guarantee of free access to our products.

Program Instructors

Felix Oberholzer-Gee Andreas Andresen Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School Senior Associate Dean for International Development

William W. Fisher WilmerHale Professor of Intellectual Property Law at Harvard Law School Faculty Director, Berkman Center for Internet and Society


  • Strategy and IP Management: During this part of the course, the Professors and participants discussed how we can add intellectual property practices into our business models. We discussed the different types of options organizations have, and how they can leverage IP for the benefit of the company.
  • Deploying IP: We discussed the different methods internal executive teams can use to deploy IP for both short term, and long term advantage to the company. We reviewed different cases, and discussed alternatives to what actually occurred in each circumstance.
  • License, Copyrights, & Patents: The discussion on this topic focused on the different types of restrictions, rules, and benefits individuals and/or organizations have when choosing to license, copyright, or patent their IP. We studied and discussed cases that illustrated successful and unsuccessful use of these options.
  • Collaboration in IP: General Manager of Intellectual Property of Philips Group Healthcare division, Stephanie van Wermeskerken, discussed how her group manages their IP. She discussed the strategy she uses to gain competitive advantage in the marketplace for the organization as a whole.

Real World Application: OWASP Case

One of the most important learnings I took away from this course was a better understanding of how we can manage our own intellectual property in a more efficient and strategic way. I know some might argue that we are not very innovative, and our research is not as academically rigorous as we need to be. However, I feel that despite these challenges, our projects still produce IP that is of great importance and value to the software development industry. Even during this course, I met a gentleman who is the head of IP for a major French software firm, and he let me know that he just approved the use of ESAPI for a multi-million Euro project his company is working on. The work our project leaders produce is incredibly valuable. Even if we do license the material under Commons licenses, we have to make sure that these license choices are protecting and benefiting our Project Leaders, the Foundation, and our consumers.

OWASP's IP is an incredibly valuable asset that I feel we can benefit from far more than we have been. I feel it has the potential to help the organization raise more awareness, funds, and support for our mission. We are doing some of this work already with our grant writing, but I feel we are only scratching the surface of what can be. A goal of mine is to develop an IP management strategy for us that we can use to leverage our existing and future IP, in the hopes that it will benefit our community and further our mission.

Overall, I feel this course was a very positive experience. I am very happy I was able to attend, and I hope to use my learnings to help the OWASP foundation and community, in the future.