Heather J. Meeker


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Heather Meeker advises technology clients on intellectual property matters. Her practice focuses on counseling in the following areas:

  • Technology transactions, including licenses, channel sales agreements, development agreements, university technology transfer, and consumer contracting 
  • Open source software licensing, including IP strategy, compliance, transactions, and disputes 
  • Technology and IP issues in mergers and acquisitions
  • Copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, and other IP matters  

Heather has achieved national and international recognition for her leadership in the field of intellectual property law. Drawing on her technical knowledge and experience, she approaches matters with a practical and business focus. Heather handles technology transactions and intellectual property-related aspects of mergers and acquisitions for companies in all technology sectors and for non-technology companies doing technology deals, with an emphasis on IT and software.


Honors & Awards

  • Recommended in Chambers USA for California, IT & Outsourcing: Transactions
  • Recommended by The Legal 500 
  • Recognized as a “2019 Top Women Lawyer,” The Daily Journal
  • Named to the “Top 100 Women Lawyers in California” and twice to the “25 Top IP Portfolio Managers (Licensing) in California,” The Daily Journal 
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers® 2021 for Copyright Law, Information Technology Law, Litigation - Intellectual Property / Patent  in Silicon Valley, CA; Heather has been listed in Best Lawyers® since 2008.
  • Named “Lawyer of the Year” in Copyright Law and Information Technology Law (San Jose) by Best Lawyers® (2021)
  • “San Francisco Information Technology Law Lawyer of the Year,” The Best Lawyers in America 
  • Named to “IP Stars - Top 250 Women in IP” list, Managing IP Magazine’s World IP Handbook and Surveys 
  • Named among "IP Stars," Managing IP Magazine 
  • IP Vanguard Award Recipient, The State Bar of California - Intellectual Property Law Section
  • Recognized as a leading attorney in IAM Patent 1000
  • Recommended in Data: Information Technology; and Data Privacy and Protection by Who’s Who Legal
  • Named a Top Rated Technology Attorney by Northern California Super Lawyers


Bar Admissions

  • California

Court Admissions

  • US District Court for the Northern District of California
  • US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit


  • University of California, Berkeley, J.D., 1994: Order of the Coif; Editor-in-Chief, Berkeley Technology Law Review (1993-1994)
  • Yale University, B.A., Economics, 1979: magna cum laude

Professional Activities


  • Former Council Member, American Bar Association Science and Technology Section (2006 - 2010) and Former Chair, Open Source Committee, Section of Science and Technology Law
  • American Law Institute (2006 - present)
  • Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights for the San Francisco Bay Area (2006 - present)

Adjunct Professor

  • Hastings College of the Law (1998 - 2007)
  • UC Berkeley School of Law (2008 - 2009) 


  • Restatement of the Law, Copyright, The American Law Institute (ongoing)
  • Principles of the Law of Software Contracts, The American Law Institute (2010)


  • Co-Chair, "Open Source Software 2020 - from Compliance to Cooperation," Practising Law institute (September 29, 2020)
  • Chair, “Open Source Software 2019 - from Compliance to Cooperation,” Practicising Law Institute (October 1, 2019)


  • “Bias in Artificial Intelligence: Is Your Bot Bigoted?Bloomberg Law (October 19, 2020)
  • “Practicing Law the ‘Open Source’ Way,” Recorder (July 23, 2020)
  • Investing in the Red Zone: Commercial Open Source and Bear Markets,” Medium (April 9, 2019)
  • Automated Vehicles in 2019: Predictions and Suggestions,” Law360 (January 18, 2019)
  • “How the Penguin Became a Benedictine Monk: Open Source and Codes of Community Conduct,” Open Source Zone, November 12, 2018
  • Open Source – The Last Patent Defense?” Outercurve Foundation Blog, February 11, 2014
  • “Town Meets Gown – Navigating the Sponsored Research Agreement,” ITechlaw Journal, Volume 5 Issue 1, 2013
  • Who's Afraid of GPL3?” Open Source Delivers, January 25, 2013
  • “Open Source and the Age of Enforcement,” Hastings Science & Technology Law Journal, September 14, 2012
  • “The Gift that Keeps on Giving – Distribution and Copyleft in Open Source Software License,” The International Free and Open Source Software Law Review, Volume 4, Number 1, 2012
  • “Copyright Currents,” regular column in New Matter, Intellectual Property Law Section ofThe State Bar of California; “Deal 2.0,” The Deal Magazine and TheDeal.com, January 24, 2011
  • “Free Software Licensing is Vindicated-By a Patent Court,” New Matter, Intellectual Property Law Section of The State Bar of California, Volume 33; Issue 3, 2008
  • “Outsource Software Development and Open Source: Coming of Age in the 2000s” Santa Clara Computer & High Tech Law Journal, 2008
  • “Free Software Licensing is Endorsed – Under Copyright, and by a Patent Court” Olswang Technology News, September 8, 2008
  • “Open Source: The Dawn of the Age of GPL Enforcement,” Olswang Technology News, May 12, 2008
  • “Open Source: License or Contract?” Olswang Technology Update, Q1 2008
  • “db4objects and the Dual Licensing Model,” db4objects, January 2007
  • “Open Source in M&A and Other Transactions,” Oregon Intellectual Property Newsletter, December 2006
  • “Open Source and the Long Tail of the Law,” Enterprise Open Source Journal, November 2006
  • “Legal Issues: The Contribution Conundrum,” Enterprise Open Source Journal, July 2006
  • Only in America? Copyright Law Key to Global Free Software Model,” LinuxInsider, May, 16, 2006
  • “Tutorial on Software Engineering and Licensing Issues for Free Software,” University of Washington School of Law, March 21, 2006
  • “Managing Open Source Risks,” IT Business Edge, January 17, 2006
  • Open Source: Chicken Little and Age-Appropriate Explanations,” LinuxInsider, May 4, 2005
  • “Dual-Licensing Open Source Models,” Linuxworld Magazine, April 2005; “SCOing, SCOing, Gone?” LinuxInsider, March 23, 2005
  • The Fuzzy Software Patent Debate Rages On,” LinuxInsider, February 25, 2005
  • i-Technology Viewpoint: Mark My Words - Trademarks and Open Source,” Linuxworld Magazine, November 13, 2004
  • “Structuring Intellectual Property for Hi-Tech Firms,” International Tax Review, September 2003
  • “Thinking Outside the Lock Box: Negotiating Technology Escrows,” Computer and Internet Lawyer, July 2003
  • “Buying the Penguin: Acquisitions and Open Source,” CLA Bulletin, July 2003
  • “Why You Need to Understand Open Source Licenses” International Technology Law Review, November 2001
  • “Why You Need to Understand Open Source Licenses,” International Law Review, July 2001
  • “Helping Your Software Client Transform into an ASP,” The Internet Newsletter, July 2001
  • “A Lesson in Taxonomy: The Many Monikers of the Software Distribution Agreement,” The Computer Lawyer, November 1999
  • Continuing Column: “Clause of the Month,” Intellectual Property Strategist, 1998-1999
  • “Turning the Software Frog into a Multimedia Prince,” The Computer Lawyer, November 1997
  • “A Shrink Wrap by Any Other Name: Drafting and Enforceability of Web-Wrap Agreements,”9 Technology and Intellectual Property Law Bulletin, Fall 1996, at 1
  • “A Font by Any Other Name: Use of Fonts in Software Development,” 9 Technology and Intellectual Property Law Bulletin, Spring 1996, at 1
  • “How to Avoid the Bruised-Knee Effect,” Data Based Advisor, November 1988 at 171 (on design defaults in data input programs).
  • Provided representation in open source disputes, including Oracle v. Google, Continuent v. Tekelec, and FSF v. Cisco.
  • Participated in drafting team for Mozilla Public License version 2.0.
  • Serves as advisor to the ALI project on the law of software contracting and the Restatement of Copyright Law.
  • Provided counsel to many open source software and technology efforts, including Mozilla Foundation, Cloudfoundry.org, OROPO Foundation, Open Compute Project, and Open Networking Foundation.
  • Authored “Open Source for Business,” a handbook for engineers, business persons, and lawyers to understand the use of open source licensing in private enterprise.

Alerts and Publications

Press Releases

More than 40 O’Melveny Lawyers Recognized in 35+ Practices by Best Lawyers in America® 2021

August 25, 2020

O’Melveny Advises Synaptics in Acquisition of Rights to Broadcom’s Wireless IoT Connectivity Business

July 7, 2020

O’Melveny Named Leading Law Firm by Chambers USA 2020

April 27, 2020

O’Melveny and Electronic Frontier Foundation Score Landmark Win for Open Source Pioneer Bruce Perens

February 6, 2020

O’Melveny Represents SMART Global Holdings in Acquisitions of Artesyn Embedded Computing and Inforce Computing

July 9, 2019

Meeker and Simmons Named Daily Journal 2019 “Top Women Lawyers”

May 8, 2019

O’Melveny Honored as Leading Law Firm; Earns Top Rankings in Chambers USA 2019

April 25, 2019

Meeker Named one of Business Insider’s “10 People Transforming Tech”

April 16, 2019

The Recorder Names Meeker Among its “Women Leaders in Tech Law 2018”

November 7, 2018

O’Melveny Advises VMware on Purchase of Heptio

November 6, 2018

In the News

Bloomberg Law: Autonomous Vehicles and Software, Regulatory Challenges—A Conversation

July 13, 2020

The Deal: Synaptics Buys Wireless IoT Assets From Broadcom

July 7, 2020

Above the Law: Practice At The Top Of Your License: Let’s Define The Mystery Term

June 5, 2020

ZDNet: Huawei Changes its Patent story

April 3, 2020

The Register: Maker of Linux Patch Batch grsecurity Can't Duck US$260,000 Legal Bills, says Cali Appeals Court in anti-SLAPP Case

February 7, 2020

ZDNet: You Can’t Open-Source License Morality

September 24, 2019

TechCrunch: Lack of Leadership in Open Source Results in Source-available Licenses

May 30, 2019

Wired: How Github is Helping Overworked Chinese Programmers

April 4, 2019

ZDNet: No, You Can’t Take Open-source Code Back

February 12, 2019

Global Legal Chronicle: VMware’s Acquisition of Heptio

December 29, 2018

The Deal: VMware Hones Skills with Heptio Acquisition

November 7, 2018

The Recorder: Women Leaders in Tech Law 2018: Heather Meeker, O’Melveny & Myers

November 6, 2018