Intellectual property promotes creativity and eases lives. It pushes the limits of science, technology, literature, art, and so on. The term ‘intellectual property’ means exclusive, specific rights that authors or inventors hold. It’s not material property, but a right or permission that the law recognizes to the holder.
In the past, patent marks were reserved for physical inventions. Today, the focus of legal protection is software, codes, databases, and so on. The growing importance of computer programs in modern society increases the necessity for legal protection. An explanation of what software is, find here.
There are two main ways in which creators can protect the apps they have designed. These are copyright and patent. These two forms of protection provide different rights and have different procedures when registering.
Patent Is a Broader Protection
When someone creates an original program, that person then has something called copyright for that software. If you put copyright protection on it, the law is on your side if someone tries to steal your program. Also, no one may copy, lend, rent, or otherwise benefit from your software without your permission.
The concept of copyright doesn’t protect the idea behind the software you made. It means that someone else can do something similar (or the same) to your invention. Anyone can use your idea without any sanctions. The purpose of copyright is not theft, but the ability to boost creativity in others. Unfortunately, many misunderstand and abuse that.
Unlike copyright, a patent gives software designers much higher protection. It preserves the same thing copyright does but has a wider application. Patent-protected software protects the idea behind the designed program. As experts from tatonettiip.com explain, authors can take any legal action against anyone trying to use, abuse, or steel their programs.
The patent also represents an advantage on the market as it allows its holder to make a profit. Also, the author of the software may forbid others to use it. An inventor can give that right only to those with specialized permits and or people or companies willing to pay a certain fee.
How to Get Intellectual Property Protection
Another difference between a copyright and a patent is the subject of protection, in this case, software. If authors apply for patent registration, their inventions must be not only original but also innovative. They should bring reforms and improvements in the field from which they originate.
In terms of software, a program should solve an assigned task in a completely new way. The only way for software to become a patent is to be implemented on some hardware; that is, it must get physical form.
Innovation is not a feature necessary to obtain copyright. For this form of protection, the subject must be the original creation, i.e., that there is nothing like it. In this case, the software designer has the moral and property rights to the computer program they designed.
Procedure and Length of Intellectual Property Protection
By the very act of developing the software, the author enjoys all the rights. These are the already mentioned property and moral benefits. Property rights last for a limited time, during the author’s life and 70 years after death. The moral rights last forever. The only thing matter is that there’s someone to take care of their adherence.
The law doesn’t prescribe the mandatory registration of an invention in order for the author to obtain a copyright. They earn them upon completion of the work (for this particular case, a computer program). Still, it’s always a better option to register your invention in some way to have proof that you actually made it.
Patenting is a slightly more complicated procedure. Unlike copyright, it requires filing a formal application. Applying guidelines see on this source. Also, you have to pay not-so-cheap fees to register an invention. In the case of computer programs, codes, and databases, the patenting process gets even more complex.
Although the duration of a patent is shorter than that of copyright (20 years compared to 70 years), it’s still safer option for many authors. On the other hand, due to the complicated procedure of registration, it is understandable why most authors stick to copyright.
What You Should Choose
The answer to this question depends on the circumstances in which you created the software and what you expect from it. Patenting is the right solution if you came up with something without anyone’s help, orders, or instructions. If you made the original computer program at the workplace, you should consult with a lawyer to know your rights and obligations.
If you invented something valuable, legal aid and advice is a must. Once your app turns out to be a profitable idea, many will try to take advantage of it, misuse, or steal it. You have to react upfront and protect yourself. Also, registering an invention can bring you some money. Then it is also desirable to have a good advisor by your side. You certainly want to sell or exploit your idea in the best possible ways.
How to start making money from patented software, read below:
Everything you use every day came into being as a realization of someone’s idea. Nowadays, science and technology push the boundaries of the possible. Every invention, material or conceptual, can be revolutionary and change the world for better. And every author of such inventions should be praised and paid.