March 21, 2017
Intellectual Property Rights - Software Industry
BY : Legato

An Intellectual property is the creation or innovation of one’s own mind which means that every novel creation by a person is his own property and he is entitled to certain privileges attached with it. Accordingly, Intellectual property rights are at the foundation of the software industry and the term refers to a range of intangible rights of ownership in an asset such as a software program. Each intellectual property "right" is itself an asset, a slice of the overall ownership pie. The law provides different methods for protecting these rights of ownership based on their type.

There are essentially four types of intellectual property rights relevant to software: patents, copyrights, trade secrets and trademarks. Each affords a different type of legal protection. Patents, copyrights and trade secrets are used to protect the technology itself. Trademarks do not protect technology, but the names or symbols used to distinguish a product in the marketplace.

When an intellectual property is created, the rights to publish, perform market, distribute and earn revenue rests with the owner or creator of the IP. However, by way of licensing, the owner of the property may allow, at certain conditions, other people to use the product of their creation or perform it as the case may be.

For example Microsoft licenses its technology to computer OEM’s all over the world at a nominal price. They currently maintain programs for licensing Windows and other source code, hundreds of communication protocols, popular Microsoft Office XML schemas, and other technologies. Microsoft considers all requests for licenses, but reserves the right not to license certain technologies and/or patents. This choice is available to every owner of an IP. Microsoft determines to license patents generally non-exclusively and on terms similar to how others in the technology industry license their own patents.

The reason this works so well is because when one creates an intellectual property, merely keeping it with them does no one any good. Such property benefits the owner and the society at large when it is put to use. It results in the licensor of the IP earning his share of revenue and the licensee in such a case benefits by using it and putting it to correct use. A license is thus granted by a party ("licensor") to another party ("licensee") as an element of an agreement between those parties. A shorthand definition of a license is "an authorization (by the licensor) to use the licensed material (by the licensee)."

Licensing an IP is purely a matter between the concerning parties and is performed at their discretion. A person whose IP is used without the owner’s permission is liable to claim damages and ask for the revenue earned by the “thief” and also issue an injunction from further use of it.

A person entrusts the use of his IP to someone else by way of a number of things like:-

1. An author selling the rights of his/her novel to be made into a movie or
2. A software designer designing an app and giving away the permission to use it or
3. A songwriter giving the permission for his/her song to be used in a movie etc.

Thus, licensing enables the parties thereof to experience the maximum benefits of the property created. After all, an intellectual property is practically useless till it is tested by the intellect of others and put to use in the practical market.

At Legato, we help you find the perfect IPR professional to suit your needs. Be it patents, trademarks or competition law, we boast expertise in all these fields in the form of specialists who are members of our organization. The best part is that all these members’ qualification and experience is verified by us and we guarantee the best services. Any problem with the service provided can be resolved easily through us since we act as an intermediary. In case of software, we guarantee the highest quality of intangible goods which suit your requirement and we make sure the professionals hired by you through us are the very best choice available to your corresponding needs. And since these individuals are highly trustworthy, no information leak or misuse of IP is possible.