People talk a lot about intellectual property rights these days, but what are they? How do they apply to software? Why do you need to protect it?
The software industry is built around intellectual property rights, which refer to an array of intangible rights of ownership in an asset like a software program (computer program, computer software). The law provides different protections for different types of intellectual property rights based on their ownership nature. Thus, each intellectual property “right” in itself is a slice of the ownership pie.
This blog will be extremely valuable for you if you are:
- A developer of mobile applications, websites, and software;
- An entrepreneur who starts an IT project;
- Locally established IT company looking for growth or expansion;
- Company, who uses the software developed internally;
- The company which uses the outsourced development teams;
- IT-company and IT-projects looking for investments.
What is software as intellectual property?
Software as intellectual property involves computer code or source code / objective code protected by law under trade secret, copyright, or patent. To develop computer software, it takes experience, time, and labor, and since computer programs are so valuable, they can be copied and used by unauthorized individuals, which is why software needs legal protection.
Your software becomes intellectual property when you treat it as such. You have greater control over who uses it and how. In normal circumstances, if your IP assets are not protected, people could use your software without your permission, and you would lose the opportunity to get paid for authorized use by others. In extreme cases, you may lose the right to use the software you created.
Benefits of IP protection of software as a business product
In today’s connected world, it is critical to protect your business system from attacks, downtime, and unfair competitors. Every internet user should know that without the right precautions, the Internet can be very dangerous and unsafe.
With the applied legal protection of your software, you can:
- Prohibit your brand, content, source code, design of your website/ software / mobile application from copying or unauthorized use by the competitors;
- Block domains and hosting with illegal replicas of your IP, remove mobile apps from Google Play and AppStore, remove websites for Google Search;
- Stop unfair competition aiming to disrupt your brand reputation;
- Avoid fines from the state bodies for using and advertising the unregistered brand of your software program;
- Build the licensing schemes of your software and other channels for its monetization;
- Enforce your rights in the court and receive fair compensation for the infringed exclusive rights;
- Gain financial benefits due to the implemented auditing of your IPs and capitalization practices;
- Claim the rights for the software from the developer, a former employee.
Ways to protect software as IP
Software as IP can be protected by both a copyright, a patent and trade secret. All these options cover different aspects of IP protection. Depending on the company’s IP strategy, some people prefer one type of protection over another. To protect your software, you must make informed decisions.
Different types of software protection:
|Patents grant exclusive rights to make, use, and sell an invention for a period of twenty years. In return for the time and effort spent developing the invention, the inventor has been granted a legal monopoly.
Software patents are very powerful economic tools. They can protect features of a program that aren’t protected by either copyright or trade secret laws.
|Copyright protection extends to the way an idea is expressed. The software would be covered by copyright law along with the source and object codes.
It gives the owner the exclusive right to copy, modify, and distribute or sell those copies or modifications of the property to the public.
|Many features of the software, such as code, ideas and concepts reflected in it, can be protected as trade secrets.
This protection lasts if the protected element retains its trade secret status.
In addition, you can protect your intellectual property with trademarks, but not your software code. Protecting a software’s name or a symbol used in its marketing is the only option. By trademarking your software’s name, you can prevent others from using a confusingly similar brand name in their marketing.
Software as a product
In cases where the software is presented as a business product like mobile or web applications, computer games, websites, or CRM systems and programs, its parts are subject to legal protection:
- Brand Logo and/or Product Name;
- Design (main user interfaces, administrative panel, and modules);
- Source code (1st 20 pages of code listing);
- Database (structure);
- Content (if unique);
- Concept (functionality, technical solution).
To maximize the economic value of a software asset, it is critical to understand the nature of the intellectual property rights involved. It is important to understand how to use the existing legal protections to protect these rights.
In order to protect your software, you must follow quite a complicated process. Make sure you have competent IP-Experts on your team. INTEROCO Copyright Office Dubai can handle all your copyright requirements at an affordable price and professionally. To receive a free consultation, request a callback from our IP Experts on our website.