Software is a complex subject. In today’s world it is indispensible and present everywhere, and is even free of charge in some cases. In the other cases, what protection is needed ?
Our role is to guide you through the various possibilities of protection and the means offered by intellectual property today, depending on the jurisdictions and markets in which you plan to exploit your product.
All these aspects, which are strategic for your business, must be taken into account in our evaluation of the best protection that we recommend implementing for optimising your rights.
Once the protection is in place, during the life cycle of your rights, we can also assist you in securing their exploitation.
Software is defined as a set of programs designed to execute a particular processing operation on a computer. It can be protected in two ways: by copyright and by patent.
Software can be protected by copyright as regards the code and its other characteristics.
It is therefore essential to certify a date of creation of the program to act as definite proof of anteriority. As Intellectual Property Attorneys, we can of course assist you in filing this evidence, which will secure your software creations.
Per se, software in its whole is not a priori patentable. Hence, patent protection cannot be sought for software in itself, but for the process (or algorithm) implemented by the software.
Furthermore, it is possible to file a patent application to protect an invention implemented via computers.
The underlying algorithm of a software can be protected by a patent under certain conditions.
To benefit from patent protection, the software, like any other invention, must meet several criteria, particularly:
- The software must pertain to a patentable object
- The software must have an industrial application
- It must be novel
- It must involve an inventive activity (i.e. it must not be obvious)
Currently, European legislation accepts the patentability for most software. The patent can be issued if the software is new, not obvious and if it contributes to a “technical effect”. All that’s left is to use the talents of the Intellectual Property Attorneys and the partnership with the client to obtain the best possible patent application.
The purpose of the protection of copyright and patent rights is different: copyright protects the source code of the software while the patent protects the functionalities of a software belonging to a more global invention.