Software Protection.<br> Copyright <span style=vs. Patent Law">

Software Protection.
Copyright vs. Patent Law

Computer technologies inevitably engenders the trend of modern society being addicted to them. That has grown up a strong need to develop new computer-related technologies such as hardware, different accessories, and other miscellaneous devices and, of course — software.
In the light of the recent Intellectual Property (hereinafter IP) industry issues researches, the software Legal protection has become one of the most common issue in the scope of Intellectual Property protection — related cases. Now, I am going to clarify the main differences between protecting your Software under Copyright and Patenting.

First, let us go through the advantages of protecting Software under Copyright and then, we will have a little comparison to the protection under Patenting.
Protecting software, whether in object code or source, under copyright, is enforced as soon as a work is complete. The dominant advantage of protecting under copyright directly lies on the simplicity and lasts pretty long. Actually, it means lifetime protection of an author’s work, plus 50 or even 70 years of protection after an author’s death. In addition, the strong advantage of the protection under copyright is heirship, meaning the possibility to inherit the copyrights. Also, this enhances the legal status of an author.

As we have mentioned above, copyright protection may offer a complex protection of a work and it is simply effortless, but it does not reflect all the ins and outs of a work that Patents actually discover and involve in them.

Unlike the copyright, a patent application must acquiesce with both substantive and formal grounds. In addition to it, a patented software or computer technology-related invention shall be disclosed to the public society, which sometimes, may be found as a non-desired point of patenting. Also, applying for a patent, actually preparing and filing an application requires tons of experience in IP cases (Patent & Copyright Law), and more importantly – to be competent in all needed technical matters, and comparing to the copyright protection, the term of protection is much shorter, basically, 20 years after the date of an application is filed.

Nevertheless, what makes people seeking for a software protection under patenting in software-related inventions? Only one word will be enough – manifold. However, one of the strongest reason is that protection under copyright extends only to expressions but not to ideas, methods and procedures, processes of operation or even algorithmic concepts as such. Although, copyright protects the literal expression of computer programs, it does not protect the ideas or concepts, which underlie the software or a computer program in any of its kind, which often have substantial commercial value on the market.

Summarizing all the information about possible ways of legal protection of software given above, we may say that it all relates on needs. If you are satisfied with the complex, but not absolute protection of your work, and ,moreover, you want to do without any efforts related to preparing and filing an application for a patent – copyright protection is your choice. But if you want not only to protect the “expressions” of your work, but also the main idea, the concept, the formula of your software — related invention, you should go towards the patenting and enjoy an uncompromising level of protection of your work. And, frankly speaking, here is a very great chance to commercialize your IP, in terms of getting your Software-related invention into a marketplace, what cannot be said about the copyright, due to a bit of an unaccomplished level of legal protection.
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