Dickinson School of Law
JD, 1979

Dickinson College
BA, 1976



New York



Publications & Events

Six Intellectual Property Attorneys at Choate Named "IP Stars" for 2016 by Managing Intellectual Property

Karen Copenhaver Speaks at Open Source, Open Standards, Open Minds Conference

Five Choate Attorneys Named 2016 Boston "Lawyers of the Year" by Best Lawyers in America

Choate Has 52 Attorneys Selected for 2016 Best Lawyers in America

Choate Named to IAM Patent 1000: The World’s Leading Patent Practitioners for IP Prosecution, Transactions and Litigation

Choate's Intellectual Property Group Receives Top Rankings in Managing Intellectual Property's 2015 "IP Handbook"

Choate Receives Top Chambers USA Rankings for 10 Practice Areas and 27 Attorneys

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on Open Source Software

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on Using Open Source Code to Create Proprietary Products

Choate Partners Named Lawyers of the Year

Karen Copenhaver Named 2013 Top Woman of Law

Choate’s Intellectual Property Group Receives Top “Tier 1” Ranking in Managing Intellectual Property’s 2013 “IP Handbook”

Choate's Intellectual Property Group Named to IAM Patent 1000

2012 Top Massachusetts Super Lawyers

Choate Partners Named Lawyers of the Year

2013 Best Lawyers in America

Choate’s Intellectual Property Group Named to IAM Patent 1000

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on the Challenges of Open Source Governance

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on Open Source Issues

Choate Attorneys Named Leading Patent and Technology Licensing Practitioners

Three Partners Named Lawyers of the Year

2012 Best Lawyers in America

Choate and ACC Northeast Host Discussion on How to Protect Patent Rights Internationally

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on Recent Litigation Trends and the Future of Open Source Software

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on Indemnification Obligations

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on Current Issues Facing the Open Source Community

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on Controlling the Use of Open Source in a Technology License Agreement

Karen Copenhaver Offers Clear and Concise Explanation of Open Source

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on Open Source Code Issues in Supply Chains

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on Open Source Compliance and Policies

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on How Companies Manage Open Source Software

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on Preserving Developer Freedom in the Open Source Community

Over one-third of Choate attorneys selected Massachusetts Super Lawyers 2009

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on GPL Licenses

Karen Copenhaver Featured in Mass High Tech

Choate Sponsors Software Contracts Roundtable

Karen Copenhaver on Perspectives of Key Players in Open Source

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on OSS Legal Cases

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on Best Practices for Open Source

Karen Copenhaver Selected as Leading IP Strategist

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on Open Source Due Diligence

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on Indemnification in IP Transactions

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on Issues Related to the Growth of the European Free Software Market

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on Approaches to Open Source Management

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on Copyright Licensing and Open Source Management

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on Developing with Open Source and Proprietary Code

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on the Leading Open Source Licenses

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on Critical Open Source Issues

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on International Licensing

Karen Copenhaver Named Mass High Tech All-Star Award Winner

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on Corporate Open Source Polices

Karen Copenhaver Speaks on Current Developments in Open Source

Karen Copenhaver Named Co-Counsel to Linux Foundation

Karen Copenhaver, Prominent Technology Licensing and Open Source Attorney, Joins Choate

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    Over one-third of equity partners and majority of practice areas recognized for excellence

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    Five Choate Attorneys Named 2016 Boston "Lawyers of the Year" by Best Lawyers in America. Read more...

Karen F. Copenhaver


t 617-248-4825   f 617-248-4000

"well regarded for her in-depth knowledge of software licensing"

Chambers USA

Karen Copenhaver is listed in The International Who's Who of Internet & e-Commerce Lawyers, Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America and among the top 50 women Massachusetts Super Lawyers.  Ms. Copenhaver was named a 2013 “Top Woman of Law” by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.  She was also named the 2016 Boston “Lawyer of the Year” for Information Technology Law by Best Lawyers, a designation she also received in 2013 for Copyright Law and in 2014 and 2012 for Information Technology Law, and has been named in The Legal 500 for technology transactions.  Ms. Copenhaver is only the 5th lawyer ever to receive Mass High Tech's prestigious “Mass High Tech All-Stars Award,” which honors the thought leaders and innovators throughout the New England technology sector.  She has been chosen by Intellectual Asset Management magazine as one of the world’s top IP strategists in their feature “IAM 250 — A Guide to the World’s Leading IP Strategists.”  She has also been named a top patent and technology licensing practitioner in IAM Licensing 250 and a world’s leading patent practitioner in IAM Patent 1000.  She has been recognized by Managing Intellectual Property as an “IP Star” and among the “Top 250 Women in IP” nationwide.

Ms. Copenhaver is also director of intellectual property strategy for the Linux Foundation.

Practice Focus

Business & Technology Transactions:  technology transfer and licensing of intellectual property, particularly in the areas of patent licensing and software licensing and open source business models.

Previous Experience

Black Duck Software:  executive vice president and general counsel, where she was instrumental in establishing automated methods of software compliance management as an industry best practice, and she continues to serve on Black Duck's Board of Advisors.

IBM:  served as, among other positions, site counsel for the IBM Microelectronics Division, Semiconductor Design and Manufacturing facility in Essex Junction, Vermont. 

Publications and Presentations

Ms. Copenhaver has served as an adjunct professor at Suffolk Law School in the field of Computer Law, lectured at Suffolk's Advanced Legal Series conferences on copyright law and sophisticated licensing issues and served as chair for the Practicing Law Institute’s annual conference on Structuring, Negotiating and Implementing Strategic Alliances.  Ms. Copenhaver is a frequent speaker on issues relating to technology licensing and open source software. 

  • "Opensource, Open Standards, Open Minds Conference", panelist, American National Standards Institute, April 2016.
  • “Resources for Interpreting Open Source Licenses,” “Open Source Projects and Foundations: A User’s Guide Part 1,” “Cloud Business Models and the Evolution of Open Source Licenses,” “The Latest Legal Developments in Open Source,” “Understanding Lesser Known Elements of Open Source Licenses for Use in the Connected Enterprise,” “Top 10 Open Source Legal Developments in 2013,” “An introduction to Open Source Software and Licensing,” “Understanding the LGPL and AGPL,” "Navigating the Complexities of the GPL Family of Licenses,” presenter, Black Duck Legal Webinar, 2014.
  • “Best Practices for License Enforcement and Avoiding Litigation,” speaker, PLI’s Open Source and Free Software 2014: Benefits, Risks and Challenges Seminar, December 2014.
  • “Open Source Issues in M&A,” keynote speaker, FOSS Con Korea, December 2014.
  • “Recent Rising Issues Relating to License,” keynote speaker, FOSS Con Korea, December 2014.
  • “Repositioning your Company’s Open Source and Cloud Strategies: Patent and Copyright Approaches in the Licensing Agreement,” speaker, ACI’s 18th Annual IT Service Agreements and Licensing – Cloud, Open Source & Software, November 2014.
  • “Law and Cutting Edge Technologies,” guest lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management, Boston, May 2014.
  • “Crucial Nuances to Consider When Using Open Source to Create Proprietary Products,” moderator, American Conference Institute’s 17th Annual Software Licensing Conference:  The Practical and Tactical Art of the Deal in Software Agreements – Cloud, SaaS, Open Source & Licensing, November 2013.
  • “The Invisible Software Supply Chain and Open Source Compliance,” presenter, Black Duck Legal Webinar, June 2012.
  • “Advanced Licensing Agreement Seminar,” speaker, Practising Law Institute, Chicago, April 2012.
  • “Understanding Legal Best Practices for Android,” speaker, O’Reilly Android Open Conference, San Francisco, October 2011.
  • “Licensing Intellectual Property,” guest lecturer, Suffolk Law School Intellectual Property Law Certificate Program, October 2011.
  • "Open Source Think Tank," Paris, September 2011.
  • “Watching MadMen and Thinking About Open Source,” presenter, LinuxCon, Vancouver, Canada, August 2011.
  • “Open Source Adoption in Auto Industry,” presenter, Genivi Alliance 4th Annual All Members Meeting, Dublin, Ireland, May 2011.
  • “Distinction With or Without a Difference? – Patent Licenses Versus Covenants Not to Sue in International Licenses,” presenter, ACC Northeast Chapter, Boston, March 2011.
  • "European Legal and Licensing Workshop," Amsterdam, 2009-2011.
  • “Indemnities in Intellectual Property Transactions,” presenter, Boston Bar Association Brown Bag Lunch Series, December 2010.
  • “Open Source,” speaker, Suffolk University Law School’s Center for Advanced Legal Studies’ Software Licensing: Principles and Practical Strategies, October 2010. 
  • “Controlling the Use and Manipulation of Open Source in Your Technology License Agreement,” panelist, American Conference Institute’s Technology Licensing Agreements Forum, March 2010.
  • “Q&A: It’s All About the License,” featured, Dr. Dobb’s magazine, December 2009.
  • "The Black Duck Legal Webinar Series," presenter, January - December 2009.
  • “Open Source Software: Keys to Compliance & Policy Development,” speaker, National Constitution Center webinar, November 2009. 
  • "A Matter of Principles: Shaping a Response to the ALI’s New Best Practices for Software Contracts," facilitator, Boston, July 2009.
  • “Platform: Collaboration Among Counsel,” author, International Free and Open Source Software Law Review, July 2009. 
  • “Update on Corporate Open Source Policy Development and Best Practices for Managing Open Source,” speaker, Law Seminars International Fifth Annual Advanced Seminar on Open Source Software, San Francisco, June 2009.
  • "Indemnification in IP Transactions: Critical Issues You Need to Know," speaker, National Constitution Center, May 2009.
  • “Open Source Legal Issues for Non-Lawyers,” moderator, Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, San Francisco, April 2009.
  • “Collaboration Among Counsel Celebrating the Formation of a Community of Lawyers for the Advancement of Understanding of Free and Open Source Licensing and Business Models,” author, International Free and Open Source Software Law Review, 2009.
  • “Open Source Policies and Processes for In-Bound Software,” author, International Free and Open Source Software Law Review, 2009.
  • “Open Source Software: Current Developments and Compliance Issues,” speaker, National Constitution Center, January 2008.
  • "Open Source Software 2008: Benefits, Risks and Challenges for Software Users, Developers and Investors," panelist, Practicing Law Institute, New York, November 2008.
  • "Drafting & Negotiating Patent Licensing Agreements Conference," speaker, West Legalworks, Boston, November 2008.
  • "Open Source Software," co-chair, Law Seminars International, Boston, October 2008.
  • "The Practical and Tactical Art of the Deal in Software Licensing Agreements," co-chair, The American Conference Institute, San Francisco, October 2008.
  • “Corporate Open Source Policies and Best Practices for Managing Open Source,” panelist, Law Seminars International, San Francisco, June 2008.
  • "The Linux Foundation: Collaboration Summit," Austin, April 2008.
  • "The Linux Foundation Legal Summit," Chicago, April 2008.
  • "Open Source Think Tank, Corporate Environment," San Francisco, February 2008.
  • “Open Source Software,” presenter, Brown Bag Lunch Series Suffolk University, March 2007.
  • "Open Source Software Workshop," co-chair, Law Seminars International, May 2007.
  • "Open Source Summit," The Mass Technology Leadership Counsel, Boston, June 2007.
  • "Open Source Annual Meeting," American Bar Association, San Francisco CA August 2007.
  • "2007 Annual Meeting," Intellectual Property Owners Association, New York, September 2007.
  • "Gartner Open Source Summit," Las Vegas, September 2007.

Professional and Community Involvement

Ms. Copenhaver serves on the board of directors of the Center for Women and Enterprise and on the advisory board of Design that Matters - a pro bono client.  She is also a Partner with Social Venture Partners Boston.



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