The Linux Foundation, custodians of the Linux trademark, have announced two summits to deal with legal issues surrounding Linux and open-source software.

Attendance at the first summit will be restricted to members of the Linux Foundation and their legal counsel. Attendees will focus on building a legal defence structure for Linux and policies designed to support intellectual property rights within open development.

The summit will be held in Boston between October 25-26.

The second summit — an open meeting — will be held in Autumn 2008 where legal experts from any background will be able to attend. The summit will provide practical legal guidance on the development and distribution of open-source software and allow attendees to collaborate on issues including licensing and patents. The summit is expected to become an annual event.

“Many of today’s legal conferences unnecessarily scare or confuse open source users, developers and vendors,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation, in a statement.

“The LF [Linux Foundation] is able to provide a forum in which it can bring together its members’ legal counsel as well as its own legal team to translate issues into the straightforward matters they really are and to bring practical education to a wider audience”.

The Linux Foundation was created in 2007 by the merger of the Open Source Development Labs and the Free Standards Group. It sponsors the work of Linus Torvalds and counts companies such as Google, HP, IBM, Intel and Novell among its members.