Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Why copyrighting software could be a good approach

Copyright is designed to protect various forms of creative expression. Though perhaps not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about how a copyright can be used, software can benefit from a registration. There are multiple reasons why it is a good idea to pursue copyright registration for software.

First, it is harder than it once was to obtain a patent for software. Though once the preferred protection sought, patents for software are now harder to secure. When a software patent application fails to satisfy the two-part test that is now in place, copyright registration provides another way to protect software.

Second, copyright protection covers more than just the literal copying of source code. Instead, it is also possible to copyright the organization, sequence and structure of computer software.

Next, significant remedies are available infringed software if the software has copyright registration. While it is possible to register a copyright after infringement occurs, taking that action earlier could result in securing not only actual damages but statutory damages as well. It could also lead to up to $150,000 per work when willful infringement is involved.

Registering a copyright for software can also lead to enhanced remedies when a license agreement is violated. These remedies include attorneys’ fees and statutory damages.

Last, to seek relief, registration is a requirement. The application—which requires a filing fee, application and a portion of the code being registered—is fairly easy to complete. It is also inexpensive—only $35 per registered work.

It can be hard to know the best way to go about protecting your software. To help determine the best option, an intellectual property lawyer can be of assistance.

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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