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The Law and Business of Open Source Software 2020

Speaker(s): Brian Avello, Carolyn H. Blankenship, Damion Josephs, Ellen Goldberg, Harrison "Buzz" Frahn, James Q. Walker, James S. Talbot, Jeffrey D. Osterman, Joshua A Savitt, Justin Colannino, Karen M. Sandler, Lori E. Lesser, Marcela Robledo, Michael F. Martin, Patrick Turner, Sachin Bansal, Scott T. Weingaertner, Sonal Mehta, Stuart D. Levi, Zara Rethy
Recorded on: Dec. 2, 2020
PLI Program #: 278395

Ellen Goldberg

Primary Areas of Practice: Information Technology and Intellectual Property

Law School

Fordham University Law School, J.D.
Princeton University, B.A. (Woodrow Wilson School and Program in East Asian Studies)

Work History:  

JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
Greenberg Traurig
Brown Raysman Millstein Felder and Steiner


James Walker concentrates in government investigations and enforcement proceedings, complex commercial litigation, professional liability and legal ethics.  Mr. Walker represents companies and senior executives in investigations of potential violations of the securities laws, and law firms and lawyers in litigations and proceedings involving investigations of criminal, regulatory and/or professional misconduct claims.  Mr. Walker is the Chair of the New York County Lawyer’s Association Professional Ethics Committee.  He has served on the New York City Bar’s Professional Discipline, Professional and Judicial Ethics, Professional Responsibility, and Securities Regulation Committees, and on the New York State Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics, where he has been a member since 1996.  Mr. Walker frequently lecturers on legal ethics, internal investigations and corporate governance, and has published articles addressing on attorney-client privilege, professional ethics, and issues arising under the securities laws. 


Jeffrey Osterman is a partner in Weil’s Technology & IP Transactions practice and concentrates on matters with deep commercial or technical complexity. He has had extensive experience with pure patent licensing, technology transfer, outsourcing, technology integration, content licensing and merchandising.

Mr. Osterman recently advised Sanofi in its worldwide exclusive licensing agreement with MannKind Corporation to develop and commercialize Afrezza (insulin human) Inhalation Powder; Verizon in connection with the acquisition of cloud TV technology from Intel; Lenovo in connection with the acquisition of Motorola Mobility from Google; and Mubadala and Sony/ATV in connection with the proposed $2.2 billion acquisition of EMI Music Publishing. Mr. Osterman also regularly represents Panasonic in connection with a wide variety of transactional matters involving consumer electronics and GE in connection with the IP aspects of numerous corporate transactions. He also counsels clients with respect to their rights under existing agreements and the development of new technologies.

Mr. Osterman lived in Japan from May 1997 to May 1998 where he worked in-house on loan to the headquarters of Panasonic Corporation.

Mr. Osterman is a member of the State Bar of New York and is admitted to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He has appeared on national television and lectured on intellectual property, electronic privacy and e-commerce throughout the United States and on U.S. intellectual property and contract law in Japan. He is also the Vice Chair of the IP Licensing Committee of the Intellectual Property Owners’ Association and is active in the open source legal community.

Mr. Osterman has received a number of awards for his expertise including being ranked by Chambers USA and Chambers Global as a national and global leader in the technology and outsourcing fields and by Legal 500 as a leading lawyer in the field of intellectual property. He is also recognized as an “IP Star” by Managing Intellectual Property’s IP Stars for Copyright, Counselling and Licensing, by Best Lawyers in America for Information Technology Law and in IAM Patent 2014.


Harvard Law School (J.D., cum laude, 1995)

Cornell University (B.A., cum laude, 1992)

Lori Lesser is a Partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, where she practices in the Litigation Department and is Head of the Intellectual Property Transactions Practice and Co-Chair of the Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice. Lori advises on all aspects of intellectual property, technology and privacy law, including corporate transactions, litigation, licensing, outsourcing, strategic agreements and counseling.

Her IP transactional experience includes mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings and secured financings, bankruptcy and restructurings, joint ventures, licensing, outsourcing, counseling and other strategic agreements. Her IP litigation practice comprises trial and appellate work and WIPO arbitrations.

Ms. Lesser is also consistently recognized by Chambers USA, The Legal 500 and The Best Lawyers in America, for which she has been named the “Information Technology Lawyer of the Year” for New York City. She has been listed in the “Top 50 Under 45” U.S. IP Lawyers (IP Law & Business magazine), the “Top 45 Under 45” U.S. women lawyers (The American Lawyer), and “The 20 Most Influential Women in IP Law” (Law360). She has been ranked in New York City’s top 100 lawyers and top 50 women lawyers by Super Lawyers. She has received the Burton Award for legal writing and the Award of Excellence from Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. Her IP work in private equity deals has been featured on the cover of IP Law & Business.

Ms. Lesser has served as a David Rockefeller Fellow for New York City and corporate partner for GreaterNY and serves on the boards of the Partnership Fund for New York City and the Citizens Budget Commission. She is President of the Harvard Law School Association of NYC and serves on the Executive Committee of the Harvard Class of 1988. She is on the Advisory Board of ChIPs (chief IP counsel), the Business Advisory Council of ProPublica, the Leadership Council of Barnard’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies, and the Hunter College Pre-Law Advisory Board. She is a Fellow of the Foreign Policy Association.

Ms. Lesser graduated from Harvard University (A.B., magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, 1988) and Harvard Law School (J.D., cum laude, 1993).

Brian C. Avello is the General Counsel for the Maker Foundation, a software company developing cryptocurrency-related technologies. At Maker, he leads not only the Foundation’s Legal function, but also regularly interacts with government actors in the U.S. and beyond on issues pertinent to the cryptocurrency and financial technology sectors. Brian began his legal career in US federal courts litigation, but transitioned his practice to early stage company counseling. In early 2016, he began to work with blockchain projects and investors, guiding teams through startup investment, corporate and cooperative governance and structuring, and money transmission issues. Brian has a JD from the University of Michigan Law School and a BA from the University of Miami. He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

The Maker Foundation is the organization facilitating the development of MakerDAO. MakerDAO governs the Maker Protocol and Dai, the world’s first decentralized, collateral-backed stablecoin on the Ethereum blockchain. Dai mitigates volatility through an autonomous system of smart contracts called the Maker Protocol, and through decentralized community governance.

Damion is an attorney at IBM Corporation. Since 2014, Damion has provided global legal support in multiple and varied capacities throughout the company’s business units.  Never a dull moment at IBM, Damion remembers one of the first projects he advised on at IBM - whether an internal team could use Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” song as part of a employee engagement video project. After that brief (but highly interesting) brush with music licensing, Damion has time with IBM has been off and running ever since.

In his role as intellectual property (IP) Attorney, Damion advised on matters spanning the company’s extensive IP portfolio, including patent procurement and sales, trademark enforcement and brand management, trade secret protection, copyright reviews, and open source clearance projects. For a time, Damion supported IBM’s Linux Technology Center, a group at IBM with a particular focus on engaging in, contributing to, and supporting Linux and other open source projects. Over time, Damion’s IP experience broadened to support of corporate-level M&A and licensing activities. Damion has advised on and negotiated several high-value complex software licensing transactions.   

In 2019, Damion moved to a role providing legal support to IBM’s Global Markets unit, the sales and distribution arm of IBM. In this generalist role, Damion is primarily responsible for supporting customer-facing transactions for IBM’s sale of hardware, software, cloud services, professional services, and solutions. Damion’s role also includes advising on matters related to data security, data protection and privacy, IP rights, business ethics, business controls and compliance.

Damion’s time with IBM has been enjoyable and interesting, and he looks forward to what’s next for IBM as the company pushes forward in the areas of hybrid cloud, AI, and quantum computing.

Damion holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Virginia and a Juris Doctor degree from New York Law School. Damion is admitted to practice in New York.

James Talbot focuses on transactional matters. His experience includes complex technology
development and licensing, intellectual property matters relating to mergers and acquisitions,
outsourcing of business practices, information security and privacy projects, as well as
internet domain name matters.

Since joining the firm in 1997, Mr. Talbot has counseled a broad array of clients, both large
and small, covering a wide range of businesses. He is a co-editor of the firm’s monthly
Privacy and Cybersecurity Update and is a frequent speaker on security, outsourcing, domain
names and intellectual property matters.

Joshua A. Savitt is Manager & Counsel at American Express’s Digital Platform and Internet Law unit, a team in the company’s Technology & Digital Law Group.  He advises colleagues, both business and legal, regarding American Express’s key public facing digital platforms, including the company’s API Portals, mobile apps, and websites. He also serves as a subject matter expert for legal issues relating to APIs, Open Banking technologies, Open Source Software and the company’s email channels, among other tech-related issues.

Before joining American Express, Joshua was in-house counsel for a transportation technologies startup, advising on a range of technology and transactional matters. Earlier in his career, Joshua worked as a Corporate/Tech Associate at Sidley Austin LLP, where he advised on intellectual property and technology related matters arising in the course of transactions and acquisitions across a variety of industries. 

Joshua received his JD from the University of Chicago School of Law and his BA from New York University where he graduated magna cum laud as a Presidential Honors Scholar.  Joshua lives in New York with his wife and their two children.

Justin is an Open Source & Standards Attorney at Microsoft.

Justin has almost a decade of experience representing clients at the intersection of free & open source software communities and for-profit enterprises. At Microsoft, he is part of a small team that oversees processes to enable open source use at massive scale. Prior to Microsoft, Justin was an active pro bono lawyer to free and open source software communities – having provided pro bono advice to the Free Software Foundation, the Apache Software Foundation, the Open Source Initiative, and the GNOME Foundation.

Justin specializes in advising how to use copyleft right. He has experience with copyleft litigation or pre-litigation for both non-profit and for-profit entities, including as litigation counsel to Erik Andersen and Software Freedom Conservancy in a dispute over use of the BusyBox toolkit in the Southern District of New York.

A published computer scientist in a past life, Justin also has significant experience with patent litigation both in private practice and as a law clerk in the District of New Jersey.

Karen M. Sandler is the executive director of Conservancy. Karen is known as a cyborg lawyer for her advocacy for free software, particularly in relation to the software on medical devices. Prior to joining Conservancy, she was executive director of the GNOME Foundation.

Before that, she was general counsel of the Software Freedom Law Center.

Karen co-organizes Outreachy, the award-winning outreach program to support women globally and for people of color who are underrepresented in US tech. She is also pro bono counsel to the FSF and GNOME. Karen is a recipient of the Free Software Foundation's Award for the Advancement of Free Software and the O’Reilly Open Source Award.

Karen received her law degree from Columbia Law School in 2000, where she was a James Kent Scholar and co-founder of the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review. Karen received her bachelor’s degree in engineering from The Cooper Union.

Marcela is a Partner in Baker McKenzie’s San Francisco office.

Marcela has significant experience handling all intellectual property, data and technology aspects in a wide range of corporate and transactional matters, including mergers and acquisitions, licensing, collaboration agreements and joint ventures. Marcela has practiced law in the United States and Colombia. She is a member of the American and California Bar Associations, as well as the International Trademark Association and the Hispanic National Bar Association.

Marcela focuses her practice on technology transactions, and routinely advises public and private clients from all types of industries on the intellectual property, privacy and cybersecurity aspects of a wide range of corporate matters.

Michael Frank Martin is head of patents at Verizon Media (formerly AOL and Yahoo) and advises on open source and standards development issues across Verizon.

After studying physics and physical chemistry at UCSD and the University of Chicago, Michael worked as a technical adviser and patent agent at Gardner Carton & Douglas in Chicago (now Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath). On graduating from Stanford Law School, he practiced patent litigation and worked in-house at an early-stage venture capital fund in the San Francisco Bay Area. Michael moved in-house to Yahoo! Inc. in 2013 and has been with Verizon since its acquisition of Yahoo closed in 2017.

In addition to managing the Verizon Media global patent portfolio, since joining Verizon he has been responsible for advising the larger company on legal issues around use of and contribution to open source, along with IP, antitrust, export control, and governance issues arising in standards development and industry consortia.

When he is not solving legal puzzles, Michael is running, swimming or rock climbing around the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, kids, and dog.

Patrick is in house at ViacomCBS handling a diverse range of matters across advertising, marketing, privacy, information technology, information governance, outsourcing, and cybersecurity.  He has 15 years prior experience as a practicing electrical engineer and Unix systems administrator.  He handles high profile transactions that involve substantial business risk on both the revenue and expense sides.  Beyond legal technology, he drafts and negotiates sports marketing agreements for high profile sports properties, such as the NCAA, NFL, and SEC. 

Patrick is a Certified Information Privacy Professional and is routinely involved in security incident investigations to assess whether a breach has occurred, and if so, whether there is a breach notification obligation.  He negotiates outsourcing and services agreements confirm to compliance with the GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA/HITECH, state statutes, and growing foreign data localization laws.  Patrick regularly attends hacker conventions like Black Hat and HOPE to keep a finger on the pulse of the dark web.

Patrick also performs pro bono legal services for the Veterans Assistance Project of the City Bar of New York, and is currently representing his second disabled veteran on a claim for additional benefits from the Veterans Administration. 

Sachin Bansal is the General Counsel at SecurityScorecard, the global leader in cybersecurity ratings and backed by world-class investors including Google, Sequoia, Intel, Moody's, Riverwood, and others.  Sachin is responsible for all legal, contract, and regulatory matters at SecurityScorecard where the mantra of "team legal" is to act as agile business partners to guide the company's sustainable growth while protecting its interests, and to have fun while doing so.  Sachin brings a long and successful track record of both public company in-house and top law firm experience, including Davis Polk & Wardwell and Paul Hastings.  He frequently speaks on a range of topics, such as cybersecurity, legal practice, and diversity-related matters.  Sachin is also not your standard lawyer -- he is professionally-trained in stand-up comedy, which he performs regularly and is also the creator and co-producer of The Surprise Show, a successful off-Broadway NYC production. 

Scott focuses on the litigation and trial of complex technology and life sciences IP disputes, as well as on related strategy and counseling. For more than 25 years, he has achieved successful outcomes for leading companies in a wide array of industries.

Scott currently serves as lead counsel in several patent cases in the life sciences.  Previously, he led the team that served as litigation and trial co-counsel defending Google in a multi-billion dollar patent and copyright case brought by Oracle targeting the industry-leading Android platform.  Scott’s team focused on the patent defenses, and Google secured a complete victory on all asserted patents, which Oracle did not appeal.  Scott was also a key member of a multi-defendant trial team and successfully obtained a jury verdict of non-infringement on behalf of one of the world's leading computer companies in a case involving computer network security--a case in which Scott’s client’s competitor and co-defendant lost on the same patents at trial.  For a leading U.S. based telecommunications carrier, as well its co-defendant carriers, he prevailed on a patent invalidity challenge, securing a complete victory for all defendants. In addition to his appearances in the district courts, Scott has experience before the U.S. International Trade Commission and in international and domestic arbitration of IP-intensive commercial disputes. He served as co-lead counsel on behalf of a European-based software company in multi-year arbitration and litigation with one of the largest U.S. database software companies in a case concerning FRAND royalties.

Scott’s work defending Google in the Oracle litigation earned his team Managing IP Law's Milestone Case of the Year.  In addition, Scott is ranked as a leading IP strategist named to the IAM Strategy 300 and is ranked as a leading practitioner by IAM 1000 and other directories.

Sonal is the Assistant General Counsel at BetterCloud. She enjoys working closely with BetterCloud's security, product, marketing, sales, and other teams to help make sure BetterCloud stays ahead of the game on all things legal, privacy, and data protection. Outside of work, Sonal can be found within the stacks of her favorite bookstore, catching a movie or show, nerding out, and spending some quality time with family and friends.

Zara Rethy is Counsel at Two Sigma Investments, LP, a quantitative hedge fund, where she advises on legal aspects of data sourcing and data engineering.  Prior to joining Two Sigma in August 2017, she was an associate in the Technology & IP Transactions practice group at Kirkland and Ellis LLP and an associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. Ms. Rethy received her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. 

Carolyn H. Blankenship is General Counsel, Innovation & Product for Thomson Reuters.  She joined Reuters in 2001 and before that held a variety of IP-related positions as both in-house and outside counsel, including stints at Skadden, Arps and

Carolyn’s practice focuses on fostering innovation and protecting those innovations throughout the company.  In addition, Carolyn oversees all patent litigation and supports the IP aspects of the company’s M&A activity. 

As an undergraduate, Carolyn attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for two years and went on to earn a B.A. in Biology from Harvard College.  She has a J.D. from Arizona State University College of Law and clerked for the Hon. Noel Fidel of the Arizona State Court of Appeals.

Buzz Frahn is a Partner in the Firm’s Litigation Department. His practice focus is on complex trials, particularly in intellectual property, antitrust and commercial litigation. With nearly 25 years representing technology, telecommunications, financial services and life sciences companies, clients look to Buzz for his unique ability to synthesize complicated, challenging and difficult-to-understand information into a compelling narrative that persuades judges and juries.

Buzz has first-chaired multiple jury trials. He has tried numerous complex, high technology cases, including trial wins for Cisco and other clients in patent cases tried to verdict. Buzz regularly represents Cisco, Intel, Qualcomm, SAP, Spotify, Xilinx and other leading companies in patent, trademark and other litigation.

His antitrust experience includes a number of cases for technology clients, including achieving favorable results for Micron, Elpida, Chimei and HannStar in criminal and multi-district civil litigation relating to alleged price-fixing conspiracies. Buzz also represents leading investment banks and private equity funds.

Buzz is consistently recognized as a National “Litigation Star” for Intellectual Property by Euromoney’s Benchmark Litigation and The Legal 500. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers as a top IP trial lawyer for Northern California.

Representative experience includes:

  • Micron, Innolux, HannStar and Elpida in criminal and multi-district civil litigation relating to alleged cartels in the LCD and computer memory industries.
  • Cisco, Qualcomm, SAP, Spotify, Xilinx and many other leading high-tech companies in patent and trademark litigation throughout the United States.
  • Daiichi Sankyo, Human Genome Sciences and other leading life sciences companies in complex patent litigation.

Buzz is passionate about social justice issues and has been one of the Simpson Thacher partners leading the Firm’s efforts to ensure access to justice for those impacted by the Administration’s executive orders on immigration. Buzz has been providing pro bono representation of immigrants and refugees affected by the orders, including filing amicus briefs, obtaining relief for specific immigrants who have been trapped outside the U.S. or at the borders, and partnering with a range of civil rights and human rights organizations.

He is the past President of the Board of Legal Aid at Work, the oldest legal aid organization in the West, whose mission is economic justice for low-income populations. Legal Aid at Work has partnered with Simpson Thacher to bring high-impact class action litigation to help low-income middle school and high school girls get fair access to sports. The collaboration has secured major Title IX changes that ensure gender equity for facilities programs and resources. For his pro bono work, Buzz has been recognized with the Pro Bono Advocate award from Legal Services for Children.

A frequent speaker on patent litigation, intellectual property, legal ethics and complex commercial litigation topics, Buzz has addressed many audiences, including the Silicon Valley Association of General Counsel All Hands Meeting, PLI’s Open Source Software Conference, and the Forum on Patent Litigation Reform, in conjunction with the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology.

Buzz was one of the founding members of the Simpson Thacher Palo Alto office, when the firm launched its Silicon Valley practice in 1999. He began practicing law in Simpson Thacher’s New York office. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in 1989 and his J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School, where he is a member of the Law School Board of Directors. He is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts of California and New York, in the 2nd, 9th and Federal Circuits, and before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mr. Levi has a broad and diverse practice that includes outsourcing transactions, technology and intellectual property licensing, privacy and cybersecurity advice, fintech and blockchain matters, branding and distribution agreements, cloud computing agreements, technology transfers, strategic alliances and joint ventures. His background in computer science, data privacy and the information technology industry allows Mr. Levi to understand the technology and business drivers underlying agreements and transactions in these areas.

Prior to joining Skadden, Mr. Levi was director of intellectual property for Reuters America Inc. and a vice president of Reuters NewMedia Inc. In these roles, he was responsible for all of Reuters’ technology and intellectual property matters. He also negotiated Reuters’ early stage investments in Yahoo!, Infoseek and Sportsline.

Mr. Levi has written and spoken on numerous outsourcing, privacy, technology and intellectual property issues, and each year he co-chairs the Practising Law Institute’s Open Source Institute. He was selected as a member of Law360’s 2012 Privacy/Consumer Protection Editorial Advisory Board. Mr. Levi has been named by Chambers USA as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” since 2004 and by Chambers Global as one of the “World’s Leading Lawyers for Business” in technology transactions each year since 2002. In 1999, he was selected by Crain’s New York Business for its list of “Forty Under Forty — New York’s Rising Stars,” where he was cited for his work in Internet law. In addition, Mr. Levi repeatedly has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America for information technology law.