Software licenses

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Drafting of software licences

All licenses for software must be examined/drafted by ETH transfer and approved by the Vice President Research and Corporate Relations (VPRC). The responsible professor must acknowledge and sign the license agreement as well. Approval from VPRC is obtained by ETH transfer (RSETHZ 440.4, clauses 1 and 3.1 "ETH Zurich Exploitation Guidelines" (PDF, 83 KB)).

In addition, all software that is provided to a third party whether as open source or otherwise, with or without a license fee, must be disclosed to and registered with ETH transfer (see Disclosure and registration of software). Accordingly, the distribution of software code to third parties (universities, research institutes, industry, etc.) or the distribution through download portals (Google Play Store, Apple Store, etc.) must also be disclosed to ETH transfer and the required license must be prepared and approved by ETH transfer. Further information concerning software on download portals.

Exceptions apply for open source software with an open source license recognized by the Open Source Initiative (see Registration of open source software).

Please contact ETH transfer in case you want to modify an open source license recognized by the Open Source Initiative or use a license not recognized by the Open Source Initiative.

Marketing of software by ETH transfer

If you would like to market (license) the software, please contact ETH transfer. We will be pleased to advise you of the options for commercial exploitation and to provide you with support in this regard. Your software will be evaluated by ETH transfer, potential licensees will be contacted and we will negotiate the license agreements. In addition, ETH transfer will invoice any agreed license fees to the licensee and distribute this income internally. Please also note the information available under Commercial exploitation.

Open source licensing

Provided developers of software have the approval of the responsible professor(s), they are permitted to license and distribute software with an open source license recognized by the Open Source Initiative. Prior to distributing such Open Source Software you must register the software with ETH transfer (Registration of open source software) and thereby obtain, via ETH transfer, the formal approval by the Vice President for Research and Corporate Relations.

Further information concerning open source software

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