Registration of IP rights for software developers

Most of the professionals involved in the field of programming and information technology face the problem of selling developed software products. Advancement of the IT industry allows one to sell developed computer programs via the Internet, however, the issues related to establishment of copyright, conclusion of agreements with customers and the legality of commercial distribution are becoming relevant.

A well-known question that many programmers are asking is: how to secure the author’s right to the computer software he developed? Article 11 of the Law of Ukraine "On Copyright and Related Rights" states that the author of a work shall be the primary holder with whom copyright vests, and art. 1 determines that the author is an individual who created a work by his creative effort. The author of computer software has the right to transfer his proprietary rights to it to a person or entity on the basis of the authorship agreement. According to Art. 18 of the aforementioned Law, computer software shall be protected as literary works. Importantly, according to Art. 420 of the Civil Code of Ukraine, computer software products are classified as intellectual property.

The Law “On Copyright and Related Rights” stipulates that copyright arises as a result of the development of a computer program, and for its accrual or exercise no separate registration of a work or other special registration procedure is required. As evidence of copyright, the legislator has enabled the author or the person holding the copyright to use the sign © ( «copyright» with indication of the copyright holder's name  and the year of first publication of the work.  .

Unfortunately, the use of this procedure does not provide full protection of copyright of a computer program developer. Therefore, along with the use of the © sign, in order to effectively protect one’s right to a program, it is necessary to use other possibilities of the law. This is especially important since the copyright holder has the exclusive right regarding permission to use the developed software, and is entitled to prevent its illegal use up to the prohibition of use.

To date, there are several main ways of securing the copyright in the developed software. The most effective among them is the state registration. In Ukraine, this registration is carried out by the State Intellectual Property Service. According to the results of consideration of the application, the creator of a computer software is issued a certificate of registration of copyright in the work.

As another way, the author or other copyright holder can make a commercial deposit, which involves paid storage of a developed computer software according to the depositary (deposit) agreement. This agreement is the main document fixing the copyright and the date of its accrual. Unfortunately, in Ukraine, the field of commercial depositories is poorly developed, therefore, the deposit of the copyright object is carried out through non-resident companies.

Along with state registration and commercial deposit, the author’s right can be protected by issuing a patent for a computer software. The specific nature  of this method is that it is used to protect the algorithm of a computer software. In Ukraine, patent protection of the computer software copyright is complicated due to the fact that computer software is protected as works of literature. Therefore, obtaining  a patent for the protection of the method of operation of a software for solving a specific task is practiced.

Perhaps you will be useful information about our services for the registration of copyright on a computer program.

Publication date: 16/01/2015

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