BY Umair Mirza
/
ON Sep 13, 2017

Protecting Intellectual Property for Digital Products

Protecting-Intellectual-Property-for-Digital-Product

We live in an age where companies hold prime of their assets in the digital space. Being well exposed to the term intellectual property, a question still boggles our mind; what actually it is for a company and how to protect it?

To our surprise, not knowingly, every company has intangible assets often referred as intellectual property. According to researchers and Ocean Tomo report, it is said to be that 87 percent of a company’s assets are intellectual property.

With such high reliance on intellectual property comes the need of securing and safeguarding a company’s assets. Prior to making the product live, tech companies often seek out for legal protection such as patents and secured trademarks.

How to protect intellectual property?

For tech companies, there are numerous forms Intellectual property:

  • Copyrights
  • Trademarks
  • Trade secrets
  • Patents

For a software product, intellectual property can be found in databases or embedded in the code. To safeguard the database most efficiently, you should identify two variables:

  • What does your IP consist of?
  • How is your IP protected legally?

Commonly practiced in the space of software development, three types of intellectual properties are widely talked about: copyrights, trade secrets, and patents.

What are the different categories of intellectual property and how do they relate to Digital products?

A copyright is known to protect the solution/ or how an app serves the purpose, but there’s a limitation involved. Copyright can only protect the solution but not the idea behind it. It is best used when protecting source code, object code, and user interfaces.

A patent, whereas, protects the idea behind a particular solution or an app. Patents are commonly used to protect software architecture and proprietary algorithms. Getting patented is a painstaking process, complex as well costly to undergo. Therefore, being an option not possible for small scaled tech companies. Not only is costly, it does not secure that execution of the idea. In order to secure this, another form of protection is to be used.

Trade secrets hold proprietary information that a software development company discovers and works with. The pros of trade secrets allow a company to keep intact its processes for an indefinite time period until discovered by other company. A trade secret can only go public when a company of same nature practices the same ideation with the same process.

Cubix is exposed to the most commonly voiced queries of clients that address issues related to protecting the source code and non-disclosure of the idea along with the proprietary algorithms to third parties.

The core reason for focusing on of two types of legal protection of intellectual property (IP); Copyright and Trade Secrets, is because they are most applicable to our clients’ needs in terms of IP protection.

How copyrights apply to source code and how to protect your source code.

There are two major aspects of protecting source code:

  • Source Code Ownership: Product owners have to make sure that source code is their intellectual property and not a developer’s.
  • Ensure Confidentiality: Product owners have to make sure that all the details about the technical side of their product are considered confidential.

How does copyright protection apply to the source code? Creating source code is a creative process and has a unique identity, which means that the result of such work can be protected by copyright law. While it is agreeable by many that creating a source code includes series of smaller tasks and thus smaller tasks are not protected by copyright.

How can you acquire copyright protection for your source code?

Being the first to market with an app or software program has never been more important. You alone should be allowed to make money from the software you created from scratch. Copyright is protected by the Constitution for a reason; it is the key to protecting creative works of all kinds, including things the Founders couldn’t have imagined that long ago.

Copyright is the only sure way to protect your software creation. Technically speaking, under current copyright law, you automatically obtain a copyright when you write a piece of software, but practically speaking, having a copyright and proving it when you have to are two different concepts. If you go to court to protect yourself, you will have to be able to prove that you own it and also that you were the first one to write it.

In the United States, copyright law protects your software and every aspect of its creation, including all images and design elements. Copyright protection is valid for life. When you make a copyright deposit of your software, it cannot be altered, which means there will always be a pristine copy of your software, archived with officers who are obliged to retain all documents deposited in a way that makes your copyright ownership incontestable, even though it is easily retrievable by the copyright holder at any time they need to establish their ownership rights.

How do we protect your code at Cubix?

When it comes to legality, we follow a very transparent approach between both, the employees and our clients. We follow United States laws for legal protection, maintaining transparency and eliminating any chance of infringement.

In a case where an engine is used for making an app, we follow a full disclosure approach with our clients and team, binding it with an NDA to keep the data transparent and avoid authorship infringement. Work practices at Cubix involve in high-level tracking which allows us to know when and in what case code is being used.

Before initiating any project, we run our team with patent awareness program to reinforce the gravity of confidentiality and how to avoid infringement in the development process.

To protect for external authorship infringements Cubix aids with patent protection led by the team of lawyers. In many cases, trade secrets protection is requested by the clients which are covered with a well-drafted NDA to ensure complete confidentiality.

How does Cubix protect your intellectual property?

  • Our company is compliant with copyright laws and with United States regulations in regards to intellectual property protection.
  • NDA is the start of our process. Before going into any discussions we always have NDA signed from both ends that are drafted by our lawyer

At Cubix, the NDA document is made available at the initials stage of idea disclosure that can be edited as per your needs if required. NDA is the first step towards legal protection and is to be signed before any technical ideas is disclosed to bind both the sides under an agreement to protect all information and keep it highly confidential.