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Osborne Clarke advises Eclipse Foundation on its transition to EU-based Governance


Written on 19 January 2021

Leading open source foundation incorporates AISBL based in Brussels to serve as its global base of operations.

International legal practice Osborne Clarke advised the Eclipse Foundation, one of the world’s largest open source software foundations, on the formal establishment of the Eclipse Foundation AISBL in Brussels. The Eclipse Foundation has more than 170 members and over 900 committers based in Europe. The launch of the Belgian entity aims to further Eclipse Foundation’s vision to be a global institution that builds on its existing membership base, active developer community, and strong institutional relationships to enable collaboration and the free flow of open source software innovation throughout the entire world.

Osborne Clarke’s legal experts have been long-time partners of the Eclipse Foundation, advising them across European jurisdictions on matters related to digitalisation, open source technology and corporate governance.

“The Eclipse Foundation is already the largest open source software foundation in Europe in terms of staff, projects, developers, and members, so the formalization of our AISBL makes a great deal of sense for us and the EU,” said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation. “I firmly believe that establishing this new organization will help to accelerate the drive to digitization throughout the EU and provide a new engine for the development of innovative and open technologies across the continent and beyond.”

The Foundation’s more than 375 open source projects have resulted in over 240 million lines of code — a more than €13 billion shared investment. The formalization of the Eclipse Foundation as a Brussels-based non-profit association will enable it to leverage its EU presence and recent international growth to foster global industry collaboration on open source projects in strategic technologies, such as the cloud, edge computing, artificial intelligence, connected vehicles, telecommunications, and the Internet of Things.

The team from Osborne Clarke advised on all aspects of the transfer of Eclipse Foundation’s legal residence from the United States to Europe. The team was headed by Counsel Ruth Wirtz (NPO/Corporate, Belgium) and included Partner Benjamin Docquir (IP/IT, Belgium), Associate Chloé Ponsart (IP/IT, Belgium), Associate Laurent De Pauw (Corporate, Belgium), Partner Thierry Viérin (Employment, Belgium), Senior Counsel Vinciane Rysselinck (Employment, Belgium), Senior Associate Louis Hoffreumon (Commercial, Belgium) and Counsel Olivier Lambillon (Tax, Belgium). Partner Dr. Hendrik Schöttle (IT/Data Protection, Germany), a recognized expert on open source law in Germany, has also been advising Eclipse in related matters. Osborne Clarke regularly advises domestic and international not-for-profits and associations on their cross-border restructuring, establishment and governance in Belgium. Our network of legal experts across Europe and the United States has made us a recognized leader in advising companies and associations with an international reach.