"Open Source" Practices and Licenses

Open Innovation
Trademark Policy
Our Licensing
Panaka Open Hardware License (v1.0)
License History and Downloads


Our enthusiasm for open collaboration has been influenced and inspired by a number of open source hardware projects and by the Open Source Hardware OSHW Statement of Principles (1.0) as developed and promoted by the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHW; http://www.oshw.org/definition).

The legal questions relating to how best to promote open hardware as a collaborative development environment and as an alternative to a more closed patent system remain to be resolved. But several phrases from OSHW’s discussion of the best practices for open source hardware licenses seem especially worth noting:

“While licensing is a complex subject, use of licenses is an important way of signaling how others can and should use your work. By explicitly applying an open-source license to your hardware design files and other documentation, you make it clear that others can copy and modify them.”

“Note that copyright (on which most licenses are based) doesn’t apply to hardware itself, only to the design files for it – and, then, only to the elements which constitute “original works of authorship” (in U.S. law) and not the underlying functionality or ideas. Therefore, it’s not entirely clear exactly which legal protections are or aren’t afforded by the use of a copyright-based license for hardware design files – but such licenses are still important as a way of making clear the ways in which you want others to use your designs.”

Thus while an open-source license, particularly for utilitarian hardware like ours, may or may not actually assure the type of openness that we seek, we support and participate in the practice as a way of clarifying our own collaborative intent.

The OSHW “best practices” document further notes:

“There are two main classes of open-source or free-software licenses: copyleft (or viral) licenses which require that derivatives be licensed under the same terms; and permissive licenses, which allow others to make modifications without releasing them as open-source hardware.”

We favor a “permissive” approach because we believe the rationale for open source collaboration is strong enough in itself to become common practice and that it is not necessary to dictate how others should behave or should license their own derivative work. There are, as well, challenging legal issues concerning the applicability of copy-left licenses to hardware as compared to software (see: Katz, Andrew [2012]IFOSS L. Rev., 4[1], pp. 41 – 62).

The concept of “open source”, from its origins in open-source software, is frequently associated with the notion of “free” of cost or financial charge. Others have thoroughly explained why the intended essence of “free”, while sometimes true in terms of cost for software, is more fundamentally related to ideas of openness and availability. And, while we appreciate that many of our growing socio-economic threats may call out for solutions in terms of alternatives to traditional forms of earnings and ownership, with regard to open source hardware and to Handibots in particular, there is no intention in the terminology to suggest a scheme for providing hardware that is free of cost or charge. Real stuff costs real money; at least for the time being. And, we participate in a real economy.

ShopBot® and Handibot® are businesses. While not being a particularly crass or profit-obsessed gang, we do want to provide stable and fulfilling jobs for ourselves and those we work with. The tools we develop and produce are real physical stuff which has value. We try to keep our products as affordable as possible, but the production of “stuff” involves actual materials and real labor. In that context we will try and responsibly manage the business aspects of Handibot evolution in a way that allows Handibot to viably and realistically progress towards being increasingly useful for all, at the lowest possible cost.

Further, we would like to note that we do not believe participation in OSH should constitute a burden beyond the collaboration and sharing that is based on our own full working designs, definitive models, and production concepts. Specifically, we do not feel obligated to develop alternative documentation, instructions, or technical support for others’ special needs or interests beyond what is central to collaboration on product and application development or is of interest or commercial value to us, or represent an educational opportunity we are able to support.

Our basic belief is that it makes sense to share the amazing power of collaboration in developing ideas, concepts, and products. Whatever might be lost by giving up some closed or proprietary competitive advantage is gained by encouraging and fostering the innovative solutions and then building competitive advantage on quality production and support. Our ongoing work is available on the ShopBot GitHub website (https://github.com/Handibot) and we will attempt to keep copies of the most current models, downloads, and documentation here on the Handibot website (www.handibot.com).

Our Licensing

In case of software we create for Handibot, that software is, or will be, licensed under the Apache License (2.0), a permissive, open-source software license. (Available at: http://www.apache.org/licenses/).

For hardware, we have developed a new, open source hardware license for the Handibot project. The rationale for crafting a new license evolved from our feeling that while legally appropriate, other available licenses, because they are oriented to software or to electronic circuits and devices, do not fully evoke the descriptive imagery and full breadth of general physical items such as hardware, tools, appliances, or other objects in the world.

Our Panaka Open Hardware License (v1.0; available below) is a permissive license created to facilitate the production, distribution and modification of designs describing smart power tools, originally produced by ShopBot Tools®. The Panaka OHL is directly inspired by and derived from the Solderpad Hardware License (http://solderpad.org/licenses; itself derived from the Apache Software License, see the above link), and the CERN Open Hardware License (CERN OHL, http://www.ohwr.org/documents/294, though differentiated from the CERN OHL by being “permissive”).

The Panaka OHL has a modest “attribution” requirement in order to encourage crediting and recording stages in the evolution of a product design. This means that beyond allowing a user to make free use of the design documents, the license affords two methods for contributing and moving the project forward: 1) by making contributions to the core project, contributions which will be included in subsequent design document releases and for which the contributor will be recognized in the authorship list; or, 2) by making improvements or modifications for which the new inclusions are defined and licensed by the contributor, while providing appropriate references to the original license to the core design as described in the license. The latter method might be the approach of an entity or individual deriving a new product from the Handibot design, for example, creating a design “fork” that goes off in a new product development direction.

Note that we have included a patent section in the license. This section is modeled after a similar section in the Solderpad License, (a variant of the Apache License 2.0 developed by Andrew Katz, who has also helped us by providing comments on the Panaka License), in order to broaden the scope and generality of the license and to allow for the inclusion of patents introduced by subsequent collaborators on the Handibot project. ShopBot Tools® currently holds no patents in its smart power tools and to best facilitate the proliferation and improvement of these and similar technologies, currently has no intention to acquire patents in the hardware, but intends to share its design documentation for public and collaborative purposes.

Panaka Open Hardware License (v1.0)


In the spirit of collaboration in creative and innovative product development, the Panaka (“Pah-nah-kah”) Open Hardware License (Panaka OHL) has been developed by ShopBot Tools® to govern the use, copying, modification and distribution of Design Documents for hardware.

The Panaka OHL is inspired by the Solderpad Hardware License (http://solderpad.org/licenses; itself derived from the Apache Software License, see the above link), and the CERN Open Hardware License (CERN OHL, http://www.ohwr.org/documents/294, though differentiated from the CERN OHL by being “permissive” in not imposing the use of a similar license on modifications or improvements).

    “License” shall mean this Panaka Open Hardware License.

    “Licensor” shall mean the copyright owner or entity authorized by the copyright owner that is granting the License, in this case, ShopBot Tools®.

    “Legal Entity” shall mean the union of the acting entity and all other entities that control, are controlled by, or are under common control with that entity. For the purposes of this definition, “control” means (i) the power, direct or indirect, to cause the direction or management of such entity, whether by contract or otherwise, or (ii) ownership of fifty percent (50%) or more of the outstanding shares, or (iii) beneficial ownership of such entity.

    “You” (or Your) shall mean an individual or Legal Entity exercising permissions granted by this license.

    “Design Documents” shall describe the embodiment of and preferred methods for creating, producing, manufacturing, assembling, disassembling, maintaining, making modifications to, and using a particular hardware. Design Documents may include but are not limited to: bills of materials, 2-D schematic diagrams, designs, mechanical drawings, flow charts and descriptive texts, 3-D models, and other explanatory material that is explicitly made available under the conditions of License necessary to describe how to implement, configure, interface, maintain or recycle the relevant hardware under this License. Design Documents may also include NOTICE and/or attribution sections listing the authors and contributors to the Design Documents. Design Documents may be in any medium, including but not limited to computer files, 2-D representations on paper or film, 3-D representations in metal, woods or other materials, and any other media known or not yet known.

    “Core Design Documents” means the original version of the Design Documents distributed by the Licensor, as made available under the License, as indicated by a Rights notice that is included in or attached to the Design Documents (an example is provided in the Appendix below). The Core Design Documents may also include subsequent Contributions to the original version of the Design Documents, as described in Section 5.

    “Improvement” means (a) any derivative Design Documents (which term includes any design documents including part of the Design Documents, which inclusion would require a license from a rights owner of the Design Documents should those design documents be exploited in any of the means anticipated in this license), and (b) any modification, extension, or improvement of the Core Design Documents, in the case of (a) or (b), that You make available pursuant to the license granted herein, or that you use to design or manufacture the applicable hardware.

    “Contribution” shall mean any work of authorship, including the Core Design Documents and any modifications or additions to the Core Design Documents or Improvement thereof, that is intentionally submitted to Licensor for inclusion in the Core Design Documents by the Rights Owner or by an individual or Legal Entity authorized to submit on behalf of the Rights Owner. For the purposes of this definition, “submitted” means any form of persistent electronic, verbal, or written communication sent to the Licensor or its representatives, including but not limited to communication on electronic mailing lists, source code control systems, and issue tracking systems that are managed by, or on behalf of the Licensor for the purpose of discussing and improving the Core Design Documents, but excluding communication that is conspicuously marked or otherwise designated in writing or a similar form to the Contribution by the Rights Owner as “Not a Contribution.”

    “Contributor” shall mean Licensor and any individual or Legal Entity on behalf of whom a Contribution has been received by Licensor and subsequently incorporated within the Core Design Documents.

    “Rights Owner” means any entity holding Copyright-like Rights.“Copyright-like Rights” means copyright, database right, mask works, semiconductor topography rights, design rights (whether registered or unregistered) petty patents or design patents.

  2. Applicability and Grant of Copyright License. This license governs the use, copying, modification, communication to the public and distribution of the Core Design Documents of hardware (which term includes without limitation any physical object or combination thereof, irrespective of function, utility or artistic or aesthetic characteristics), and to the extent necessary, the right to produce, modify, distribute and maintain the hardware embodied in the Core Design Documents. By exercising any right under this License the Licensee irrevocably accepts the terms and conditions of this license.

    Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, each Contributor hereby grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable license under all Copyright-Like Rights granting the rights to reproduce (however unfaithfully and in whatever medium), prepare Improvements of, publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense, and distribute the Core Design Documents and your Improvements.

  3. Grant of Patent License. Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, each Contributor hereby grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable (except as stated in this section) patent license to make, have made, use, offer to sell, sell, import, and otherwise transfer the work embodied in the Design Documents (or any part thereof) (“the Work”), where such license applies only to those patent claims licensable by such Contributor that are necessarily infringed by their Contribution(s) alone or by combination of their Contribution(s) with such Work to which such Contribution(s) was submitted. If You institute patent litigation against any entity (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that the Work or a Contribution incorporated within the Work constitutes direct or contributory patent infringement, then any patent or copyright licenses granted to You under this License for that Work shall terminate as of the date such litigation is filed.
  4. Distribution, Attribution and Copyright Notice. You may reproduce and distribute copies of the Core Design Documents or Your Improvements provided that You meet the following conditions:

    1. You must give any other recipients of the Core Design Documents a copy of this license; and
    2. Insofar as the medium allows, You must cause any modified parts of Your Improvements you distribute to carry prominent notices stating that You changed those parts. In the case of 3-D models and other Design Documents for which attaching notices is unreasonable, You must provide a link to a URL containing the notice; and
    3. Insofar as the medium allows, You must retain, in any Improvement You distribute, all copyright and attribution notices from the Core Design Documents, excluding those notices that do not pertain to any part of Your Improvement. In the case of 3-D models and other Design Documents for which attaching notices is unreasonable, You must provide a link to a URL containing the notice; and
    4. If the Core Design Documents includes a “NOTICE” text file, in any medium, as part of its distribution, then any Improvements You distribute must include a readable copy of the attribution notices contained within the NOTICE file, excluding notices that do not pertain to any part of Your Improvements. The contents of the NOTICE file are for informational purposes only and do not modify the License. You may add Your own attribution notices within Improvements that You distribute, alongside or as an addendum to the NOTICE text file of the Core Design Documents, provided that such additional attribution notices cannot be construed as modifying the License.

    You must take reasonable steps to ensure that the URL mentioned above and the information required to be available at it remains persistent and reasonably available for a period of at least three years from the latest date when you distributed copies of the Core Design Documents or Your Improvements.

    You may add Your own copyright statement to Your Improvements and are free to redistribute Your Improvements by any means you see fit, including but not limited to sale, as licensed under this license, modified or otherwise, or under any other license, provided Your use, reproduction, and distribution of the Core Design Documents otherwise complies with the conditions stated in this license.

  5. Submission of Contribution.Unless You explicitly state otherwise, any Contribution intentionally submitted for inclusion in Core Design Documentation by You to the Licensor, if accepted for inclusion, shall be under the terms and conditions of this License, without any additional terms or conditions. Notwithstanding the above, nothing herein shall supersede or modify the terms of any separate license agreement you may have executed with Licensor regarding such Contributions.

  6. Trademarks and other Intellectual Properties. This License does not grant permission to use the trade names, trademarks, service marks, or product names of the Licensor, except as required for reasonable and customary use in describing the origin of the Core Design Documents and reproducing the content of the NOTICE file. Other than the rights explicitly granted hereunder, this License does not imply or represent any transfer or assignment of intellectual property rights to You.

  7. Disclaimer of Warranty. Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, Licensor provides the Core Design Documents (and each Contributor provides its Contributions) on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied, including, without limitation, any warranties or conditions of TITLE, NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY, or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. You are solely responsible for determining the appropriateness of using or redistributing the Core Design Documents and assume any risks associated with Your exercise of permissions under this License.

  8. Limitation of Liability. In no event and under no legal theory, whether in tort (including negligence), contract, or otherwise, unless required by applicable law (such as deliberate and grossly negligent acts) or agreed to in writing, shall any Contributor be liable to You for damages, including any direct, indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages of any character arising as a result of this License or out of the use or inability to use the Core Design Documents (including but not limited to damages for loss of goodwill, work stoppage, computer failure or malfunction, or any and all other commercial damages or losses), even if such Contributor has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

  9. Accepting Warranty or Additional Liability. While redistributing the Core Design Documents or Improvements thereof, You may choose to offer, and charge a fee for, acceptance of support, warranty, indemnity, or other liability obligations and/or rights consistent with this License. However, in accepting such obligations, You may act only on Your own behalf and on Your sole responsibility, not on behalf of any other Contributor, and only if You agree to indemnify, defend, and hold each Contributor harmless for any liability incurred by, or claims asserted against, such Contributor by reason of your accepting any such warranty or additional liability.

  10. Termination. If You violate the terms of this License the rights granted to You hereunder will terminate with immediate effect.

  11. Compatibility Clause. You may choose to redistribute the Core Design Documents under the Solderpad license version [0.9] or any later version, or the Apache 2.0 license or any later version. If you do so, the NOTICE file referenced in this license becomes the NOTICE file referred to in those licenses. You may further choose to redistribute the Core Design Documents under the CERN Open Hardware License 1.2 or any later version (in which case the NOTICE file referenced in this license becomes part of the Documentation referenced in that license) , or the TAPR Open Hardware License or any later version.

  12. Use of License. You may use this license for Your Improvements to the Core Design Documents or for other unrelated works; however, if You do so, You must refer appropriately to Yourself as the Licensor, and You must not use the name or trademarks of ShopBot Tools®, either currently owned by ShopBot Tools® or which ShopBot Tools® acquires in the future, except You may state that Your license is based on the Panaka OHL by ShopBot Tools®.

APPENDIX: How to apply the Panaka OHL to your work.

To apply this license to your work, attach the following boilerplate notice, with the fields enclosed by brackets “[]” replaced with your own identifying information. (Don’t include the brackets!) The text should be enclosed in the appropriate comment syntax for the file format. We also recommend that a file or class name and description of purpose be included on the same “printed page” as the copyright notice for easier identification within third-party archives.

Copyright [yyyy] [name of copyright owner] Copyright and related rights are licensed under the Panaka OHL, Version 1.0 (the “License”); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at https://handibot.com/panaka-license.php. Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software, hardware and materials distributed under this License is distributed on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

License History and Downloads


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