Intellectual Property in Software Technology

A lot of people fuss about the intellectual property right and what it has to do with information technology business. But what are they? What it has something to do with software technology? Why do we need to protect them and how to do so.

IP right is said to be the software industry's foundation. It is a right of ownership in an asset like a software program. The law offers diverse ways for protection of these rights.

Basically, there are four types of IP rights imperative to the software you can file in reputable intellectual property law firm in the Philippines. These are patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. Every type supports a definite level of legal protection. Patents, copyrights and trade secrets can be utilized for the protection of the technology itself. While the trademark does not do that, what it protects instead are the names, logos, and/ or symbols that are used to identify a product and/or service in the marketplace.

Let's discuss things further below:

1. Patent

Patents are the rights in making, using and selling of an authorized invention. This is considered a reward for the efforts of making an invention. For this to be filed, the creation should be described in detail to the Patent Office who will publish the information, thus increasing the amount of technological knowledge available to the public.

Software patent can be an exceptionally powerful economic tool. It can secure features of a program that cannot be easily secured under a copyright or trade secret law. Like for instance, a patent can be obtained for systems, ideas, algorithms, methods, and methods exemplified in a specific software product such as display arrangement, menu presentation, program algorithm, function setup, interface feature, etc.

The patent right is exclusive. That be, or sell a patented intellectual property without an authorization from the owner is guilty of an infringement.

2. Copyright

Copyright protection extends to a specific form to which ideas are expressed. For software, copyright law applies to the source and object code, and some other unique elements of the user interface.

As with patents, the exclusive rights that can be afforded under copyright law sought to reward the creative and efforts of the “author” of the copyrighted work. The exclusive right to control duplication protects the owner of copyrighted software against the competition that would result from verbatim copying of the program’s code. Copyright law also protects against indirect copying, such as unauthorized translation of the code into a different programming language.

Copyright protection arises automatically upon the creation of an original work of authorship. There is no need to “apply” for a copyright or register the copyrighted work in order for protection to exist. Generally, the duration of a copyright is the author’s life plus fifty years. In the case of software created by an employee in the course of his or her employment, the resulting “work made for hire” would be protected by copyright law for seventy-five years from publication.

In contrast with patents, independent development of a copyrighted work is a defense to an allegation of copyright infringement. Imagine, though, how unlikely it would be for the same thousands of lines of code to be created independently by one not engaged in unauthorized copying. Unlike patents, copyright law affords no protection to the ideas underlying the program. Ideas and concepts are fair game for competitors to the extent they are not protected by patents or trade secrets.

3. Trade Secret

Trade secrets are any pattern, formula, process, compound, device, or tool that is not usually known to others, are maintained in secrecy by owner/s as they provide competitive advantages in the industry.

In a manner, this can last for length to forever as long as the inventor provides reasonable efforts to keep it secret and somebody else hasn’t independently created or discovered it.

Many features of software like codes and the concepts reflected in it, can be secured as trade secrets. The protection lasts for as long as the element maintained its trade secret status. Trade secret protection is quite different from patents and it doesn't extend to elements of software that are readily discernible through lawful processes, like reverse engineering and independent development.

Those who will disrespect the trade secret security will not be subjected for infringement. Rather, it will be considered as an act of theft. Its legal status as a protected intellectual property right will only be applied when its owner is able to prove that intellectual property was not known and reasonable steps were taken to preserve its secrecy.

Intellectual Property in Software Technology Edwin Deponte 5 of 5
A lot of people fuss about the intellectual property right and what it has to do with information technology business. But wha...
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