LawPatch

Open source language for legal instruments

LawPatch is a collection of open source legal language that you can link into your contracts with URLs. Using LawPatch shortens agreements considerably and makes them easier to understand for non-lawyers.

Here's what LawPatch looks like in practice:

LawPatch (15 words) Traditional Language (270 words)
The Developer transfers ownership of the intellectual property rights in the Code to the Client. The Developer assigns all current and future Intellectual Property Rights in the Code to the Client. The Developer warrants and represents to the Client that it has the right to transfer the Intellectual Property Rights in the Code under this clause. The Developer agrees to do all things necessary to give effect to the assignment of Intellectual Property Rights in the Code. The Developer warrants that it will give and obtain any Moral Rights waivers and consents necessary to ensure the Client can deal with the Intellectual Property Rights in the Code in accordance with this clause without infringing Moral Rights. (100 words)

Moral Rights means... (another 20 words)

Intellectual Property Rights means... (another 150 words)

We also think LawPatch could work as a new layer of legal language that is consistent across jurisdictions (like jQuery for law).

Getting Started

Using a patch is simple:

If you’d like to play it safe, you might choose to use the following clause in agreements that you are using LawPatch in:

The parties agree to this document using LawPatch language. The language referenced by hyperlink is legally effective. The text of the hyperlink is for convenience only and is not legally effective.

United States
General Provisions End of agreement boilerplate
Interpretation provisions for an agreement
Limitation of Liability Limit liability as much as the law allows
Limitation of liability to a specified amount
Limiting liability for consequential loss only
Not limiting liability at all
United Kingdom
General Provisions End of agreement boilerplate
Interpretation provisions for an agreement
Australia
General Provisions End of agreement boilerplate
Interpretation provisions for an agreement
Intellectual Property Transfer ownership of intellectual property
License intellectual property
Limitation of Liability Limit liability as much as the law allows
Limitation of liability to a specified amount
Limiting liability for consequential loss only
Not limiting liability at all

Open Source Contributions

If you'd like to contribute a patch, we'd love to hear from you. Email Pat on pat{at}codepact{dot}com with the language.

To get you thinking, we think the LawPatch concept could work well with:

More Info

We use Github to host the language for LawPatch. For an explanation on the way we use git to version the language, check this out.

Here’s an article on how LawPatch evolved and the legal problem it solves.

We're also experimenting with an open source legal dictionary here.

Be Careful

The legal language referred to on this page is not legal advice, and the people working on it are not your lawyers.

The patches are useful in many situations, but they are not applicable in all. That means you need to be careful with them. Before you use them in an agreement, speak with a lawyer.

Who's Involved

Here's the list of people involved with LawPatch.

Name Info
Pat Brown (@pjbrow) Pat is the developer of CodePact.com and an Australian lawyer specialising in technology and finance law.
Sol Irvine (@solirvine) Sol is an experienced transactional lawyer and founder of the New York City-based law firm Yuson & Irvine.
Jonathan Lee (@jonathanlea) Jonathan is a corporate, tech and international trade focused lawyer working out of London. His website is at jonathanlea.net.
Henry Fraser (@henryfraserecho) Henry Fraser is an Australian lawyer specialising in technology and IP law, currently working on a doctorate in copyright law and policy at the University of Oxford.