Microsoft has contributed patent and copyright licenses for two of its open-source projects to the CodePlex Foundation in early January.

CodePlex was founded last fall to provide legal protection and organizational support for commercially viable open-source projects. The first two projects now at are Microsoft’s ASP.NET AJAX Library and the Orchard Project, which is a collection of reusable ASP.NET components.

Sam Ramji, interim president of CodePlex, said that the foundation now owns a transferable license for the patents and copyrights associated with these projects, and can extend these licenses to any and all users of the software. Developers wishing to contribute code back into the projects will have to sign a contribution copyright agreement, but end users will not even be encumbered with a licensing agreement, said Ramji.

CodePlex is also in the process of selecting a new executive director and a few new board members. The director and new members were not named by press time, but Ramji did say that he had no intention of staying on as president of the foundation. He did infer that he might take a seat on the board or serve some other, less time-consuming role at CodePlex.