Computers, software systems and programs are an integral component of almost every business. Computers permit businesses to better build and monitor supply chains, distribution chains, marketing and sales efforts and customer relations. In our personal lives, computers speed communications efforts, offer a portal to vast amounts of information and permit us to better control many aspects of our daily lives.
With these advances, businesses need to protect custom built programs, secure data gathered by the programs, and manipulate that data quickly while permitting limited access to the same by salespeople, suppliers and customers. Data security and privacy issues are critical to the acceptance of computerized systems.
Computer programs and software are uniquely under many intellectual property laws such as patents, trademarks, copyrights and laws governing computer access and electronic data transmission and trade secrets. There are several laws and treaties governing domains. An understanding of these laws is important.
Computer Law: Patents
We have extensive experience in preparing and prosecuting computer patents for a wide range of industrial applications. Business method patents often are computer-based. Patents protect high level functions of the computer program if the functions are novel and non-obvious. We litigate computer patents in federal courts. Right to use opinions, patent validity opinions and infringement and non-infringement opinions assist our clients is the assessment of their business risks and enable them to exploit I.P. rights.
Computer Law: Copyrights
Copyrights protect executable or object code, source code and file structure. Our services include copyright registration of computer programs, assertion of trade secret status in the registration of the source code, counseling, licensing and transfer of ownership, acquisition, sale and litigation. Typical defenses to copyright infringement include independent development and the right to use and modify third party programs to make them operable.
Contracts - Trade Secrets and Ownership
Contracts are widely used to regulate data, permit or deny access to systems and govern use of computer systems in web sites. We draft many types of agreements ranging from development agreements, distributor agreements, terms of service contracts and privacy policies. Distributor and programmer developer contracts preserve trade secrets in the executable code and processing algorithms and typically include work for hire provisions.
Computer Law: Trademark
Trademark registrations protect the name of the program and the web site domain if the domain name is used in the web site banner or at other locations to uniquely designate the goods or services on the web site. We enforce these trademark and domain name rights by pre-litigation cease and desist letters, by federal and state court litigation (and appeals, if necessary), and by UDRP domain dispute administrative procedures.