Intellectual Property for Software and Application Development
When developing software, you can’t overlook or postpone the need to protect your intellectual property rights. Software is a highly competitive industry where you need to promptly secure your rights. An attorney experienced in these matters can help you with IP protection for software and related areas.
The Importance of Intellectual Property Rights in Computer Software
Computer software is used to power many everyday items, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Additionally, more and more smart home systems are operated by software, such as heating, lighting, entertainment, and security systems for homes and businesses. Whether you are making software products for retail consumers or businesses, it’s essential to protect your intellectual property rights. Intellectual property rights software development may overlap with hardware in some cases, as you need to protect all components of your products.
Copyrights For Source Code
Software code may be protected by copyright. Copyrights were originally created to protect literary works. However, computer code is interpreted as a type of language, making it eligible for copyrights. A common example of this is obtaining copyright for an app (application).
App development intellectual property is a fast-growing subcategory, as millions of apps are created each year for smartphones, tablets, and computers. Apps perform a wide range of functions, some of them extremely specific. If you are developing an app, you want to protect it before anyone else can release something similar. This includes the name, logo, particular function, and source code that powers the application. Source code can be protected by copyright.
Patents and Software
Software is patentable, as long as it meets certain criteria. To be issued a patent, your software needs to prove some kind of distinct functionality or an improvement over existing software. If you create a program that performs a common function, such as adding numbers, it won’t be patentable because many programs can already do this. On the other hand, if you add some unique function, it may be eligible for a patent.
Patents provide broader protection than copyrights, though both can be useful. For example, if your app is copyrighted, this will prevent anyone from copying your exact source code. However, a patent covers the functionality of an application as well.
Trade secrets are another type of protection that can be applied to certain software. Unlike patents and copyrights, you don’t have to apply for trade secret status. However, it must be demonstrable that your software plays an essential role in your business and provides you with a competitive advantage. If someone copies your software or releases something very similar, an attorney can launch a misappropriation lawsuit against the other party.