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Stephenson Harwood and Atos Consulting sign agreement to combine expertise in the risk management of open source


London, 17 October 2006 - International law firm Stephenson Harwood has signed an agreement with Atos Consulting, the business consulting arm of Atos Origin, to market strategic advice in relation to the risk management of open source software. The agreement means that our combined clients will receive a balanced view of how to capture the benefits of open source whilst fully appreciating the commercial risks at stake.

Many businesses are adopting open source software within their systems architecture, however, most are unaware of the copyright, patent, licensing and other IPR compliance risks. Unlike proprietary or “closed source” software, the underlying source code in open source software is published and typically free of charge. Users therefore have the freedom to copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software’s source code.

As a complement to the existing partnership between Atos Origin and Black Duck Software, the leading provider of software compliance management solutions, Stephenson Harwood and Atos Consulting will fully audit companies’ open source software usage, advise on any compliance or intellectual property risks and the adoption of best practice strategies. Stephenson Harwood and Atos Consulting will also advise on policies relating to the installation of open source software applications ensuring compliance with software licenses.

John Buyers, Partner and Head of Commercial, Outsourcing and Technology at Stephenson Harwood commented; “Notwithstanding its undoubted cost benefits, there are significant intellectual property and compliance risks to companies incorporating open software products as part of their systems, for example, finding embedded open source code during a merger process can typically cause licensing headaches such as identifying which public licence applies to which application. In some cases, you might even face a ”total loss“ scenario as a result of third party intellectual property infringement action. Ultimately, this type of problem may call into question your company’s regulatory compliance, drawing the unwelcome attention of the authorities. Businesses really do need to approach open source issues with open eyes.”

Andy Lees, Partner and Head of Technical Consulting at Atos Consulting commented; “By working with Stephenson Harwood and Black Duck, we provide a unique combination of capabilities to help organisations realise the full benefits of open source and component-based development, whilst protecting their own valuable intellectual property and not falling foul of any third party restrictions.”

Stephenson Harwood
Stephenson Harwood is a leading international law firm operating in five countries across Europe and Asia with offices in London, Paris, Piraeus, Singapore, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai and associated offices in a number of other countries. Our business is focused on three key markets – the financial services market, the real estate market and the maritime services market. Together these three markets account for more than two thirds of our business with the financial services market being the most dominant one.

About Atos Origin
Atos Origin is an international information technology services company. Its business is turning client vision into results through the application of consulting, systems integration and managed operations. The company’s annual revenues are more than EUR 5,5 billion and it employs over 47,000 people in 40 countries. Atos Origin is the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic Games and has a client base of international blue-chip companies across all sectors. Atos Origin is quoted on the Paris Eurolist Market and trades as Atos Origin, Atos Euronext Market Solutions, Atos Worldline and Atos Consulting.

About Atos Consulting
Atos Consulting, the global consulting practice of Atos Origin, is a leading provider of business, process and technology consulting services. With more than 2,500 staff globally, it focuses on delivering proven, pragmatic solutions to the telecom, manufacturing, financial services and public sectors.

Black Duck Software
Black Duck SoftwareTM is the leading provider of software compliance management solutions that help companies govern how software assets are created, managed and licensed. Black Duck’s offerings help businesses take maximum advantage of open source software while at the same time ensure that they satisfy the obligations associated with the code they use. Black Duck’s customer base includes enterprises, product developers, outsourcers, law firms and other organisations worldwide that are concerned with protection of software intellectual property. For more information about Black Duck, visit


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