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Intellectual Property History

This is a history of the intellectual property transfers with the OpenFOAM Foundation from its incorporation in the USA on 5 August 2011 to the present day, including its relocation to the UK on 25 April 2014.  It mostly covers transfers of copyright of code to the OpenFOAM Foundation to maintain it as the single copyright holder of OpenFOAM.  As single copyright holder, it is considerably more feasible to enforce the open source General Public License and prevent OpenFOAM from becoming “privatised”, as explained in the notes to the Contributor Agreement.

5 Aug 2011: OpenFOAM Foundation (US) incorporated in Delaware, USA

OpenFOAM Foundation was incorporated as a non-stock corporation in Delaware USA to promote and manage the free, open source distribution of the OpenFOAM software.  It was was incorporated as a condition of the sale of OpenCFD to Silicon Graphics to ensure that OpenFOAM would remain exclusively free, open source software.

8 Aug 2011: Transfer of OpenFOAM from OpenCFD to OpenFOAM Foundation (US)

Intellectual Property Agreement by and between OpenCFD Limited and OpenFOAM Foundation (“Foundation”), a corporation in Delaware, US, that:

  • … assigns to Foundation all of OpenCFD’s worldwide right, title and interest in the Assigned Software [OpenFOAM, including documentation], including all Copyrights and other Intellectual Property rights therein …”;
  • … grants to Foundation an irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use the Licensed Trademarks …” OPENFOAM;
  • … transfers and assigns to Foundation all right, title and interest in, to and under the domain name …” openfoam.org.

6 Mar 2012: License of OpenFOAM Documentation changed to CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Action by Unanimous Consent of the Board of Directors of the OpenFOAM Foundation that “the Documentation for the OpenFOAM Software… shall be henceforth distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported Licence” (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

9 Aug 2012: OpenFOAM Contribution Agreement between OpenCFD (SGI) and OpenFOAM Foundation, for OpenFOAM v2.1.0 and v2.1.1

Agreement between OpenCFD and the OpenFOAM Foundation for:

  • … the disposition from time-to-time of certain software code, associated documentation and related intellectual property rights (as defined below) of OpenCFD in OpenFOAM, in order to facilitate release and availability of OpenFOAM to the general public as no-cost open source by Foundation.
  • the transfer of “… OpenFOAM code and documentation [since 8 Aug 2011], that outside this Agreement, has not previously been contributed to Foundation, and that OpenCFD wishes to release to the general public under a no-cost open source license.”

26 Feb 2013: OpenFOAM Contribution Agreement between OpenCFD (ESI) and OpenFOAM Foundation, for OpenFOAM v2.2.0

Agreement between OpenCFD and OpenFOAM Foundation for:

  • … the disposition from time-to-time of certain software code, associated documentation and related intellectual property rights (as defined below) of OpenCFD in OpenFOAM, in order to facilitate release and availability of OpenFOAM to the general public as no-cost open source by Foundation.
  • the transfer of “… OpenFOAM code and documentation [since 31 May 2012], that outside this Agreement, has not previously been contributed to Foundation, and that OpenCFD wishes to release to the general public under a no-cost open source license.”

21 Jun 2013: Code transfer for OpenFOAM v2.2.1

First Covenant to the OpenFOAM Contribution Agreement, transferring code copyright and associated IP produced by OpenCFD (ESI) since 26 Feb 2013.

3 Oct 2013: Code transfer for OpenFOAM v2.2.2

Second Covenant to the OpenFOAM Contribution Agreement, transferring code copyright and associated IP produced by OpenCFD (ESI) since 18 June 2013.

14 Nov 2013: Novation of Intellectual Property Agreement dated 8 August 2011

Board minutes in which OpenCFD notes that “OpenFOAM Foundation proposed to assign all of its assets and liabilities to a new UK entity to be established for the purpose, including an agreement (the Intellectual Property Agreement [of 8 Aug 2011])” and “…will execute all such documents as may reasonably be required to give effect to the assignment by the Foundation of all of its rights and liabilities under the Intellectual Property Agreement.”

30 Jan 2014: Code transfer for OpenFOAM v2.3.0

Third Covenant to the OpenFOAM Contribution Agreement, transferring code copyright and associated IP produced by OpenCFD (ESI) since 3 Oct 2013.

6 May 2014: Asset Transfer Agreement to The OpenFOAM Foundation Ltd (UK)

As part of a relocation of the OpenFOAM Foundation from the US to the UK, “… the Activities and the Assets [of OpenFOAM Foundation (US)], together with all properties, rights, assets and goodwill relating to the Activities and the Assets” were transferred to The OpenFOAM Foundation Ltd, incorporated in England and Wales, “… where they can be more effectively managed and protected.”

15 May 2014: Novation of Intellectual Property Agreement dated 8 August 2011

Board minutes in which OpenCFD notes that “The OpenFOAM Foundation Limited has been incorporated as a company limited by guarantee in England and Wales on 25 April 2014” and “…consent to the assignment of the benefit of… the Intellectual Property Agreement.”

27 Nov 2014: Code transfer for OpenFOAM v2.3.1

Fourth Covenant to the OpenFOAM Contribution Agreement, transferring code copyright and associated IP produced by OpenCFD (ESI) since 31 Jan 2014.

17 Mar 2015: Code transfer for OpenFOAM-dev/v2.4.0

Fifth Covenant to the OpenFOAM Contribution Agreement, transferring code copyright and associated IP produced by OpenCFD (ESI) since 26 Feb 2013.

14 Apr 2015: Code transfer for OpenFOAM-dev/v2.4.0

Sixth Covenant to the OpenFOAM Contribution Agreement, transferring code copyright and associated IP produced by OpenCFD (ESI) since 26 Feb 2013.

20 Apr 2015: The OpenFOAM Contributor Agreement v1.1

The OpenFOAM Foundation release the first version of an agreement for automatic transfer of copyright of code submitted to the OpenFOAM Foundation, intended to be used both by individual contributors and by corporate entities.

29 May 2015: Code transfer for OpenFOAM-dev

Seventh Covenant to the OpenFOAM Contribution Agreement, transferring code copyright and associated IP produced by OpenCFD (ESI) since 20 Nov 2014.

3 Jul 2015: The OpenFOAM Contributor Agreement v1.2

Revised version of the Contributor Agreement, including changes requested for signature by ESI Group.  With these revisions, Board Director Christopher St. John acknowledged “we are done” and “I will forward immediately and set the signature process in motion”.  Despite this Board-level approval for v1.2, the CEO of ESI did not sign the Agreement, without explanation.

21 Jul 2015: The OpenFOAM Contributor Agreement v1.3

Minor revisions to the previous version of the Contributor Agreement.

July 2015 – present: OpenFOAM Contributors

The Contributor Agreement has been signed by 11 organisations and 26 individuals, creating the community of active contributors and supporters.