Protecting your software intellectual property

Software Engineering

If you’re a software developer with a great new app or you’ve come up with a fantastic idea that you want a developer to produce for you, one of the first questions you may ask is: What can I do to protect my software idea from being copied?

Unfortunately, except for very limited circumstances, you cannot patent computer software. This means you cannot protect your idea and stop other people copying it.

So what can you do?

Protect your confidential information

Because you can’t stop other people copying your idea, it’s vital that you keep the details as secret as possible until your launch. In addition, there may be elements of the software’s design or architecture which are non-obvious to an end-user which you will want to keep secret even after launch.

Therefore, if you’re engaging external contractors to develop and/or market the software, you should always ensure they sign a Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement before you disclose details of your idea to them.

Your employees (if any) may already be covered by confidentiality obligations in their employment contracts but, if not, consider updating their contracts or asking them to sign specific agreements. You’ll need to take employment advice to ensure that any changes or new agreements are enforceable.

Protect your intellectual property

Although you cannot patent your idea, your software source code should automatically benefit from copyright, meaning it cannot be copied. You don’t need to do anything to benefit from copyright protection but you will need to be able to prove when the source code was created (in case an infringer claims to have written it first). There are various repositories that you can send your code to as proof of existence on a particular date but all you need is to be able to save your work with a non-forgeable date stamp. It may even be that sending the work to a web-based email account may suffice.

Copyright can also exist in any images or text displayed within your software or sounds played. The screen layouts, menus, icons etc may also benefit from both copyright and unregistered design right protection (and you may be able to apply for registered design right protection as well).

If your software includes any collections of data that are arranged in an original way then there may also be copyright in the database. It may also benefit from the protection afforded by the separate “database right”.

A word of warning however: if you are engaging contractors or sub-contractors to carry out development or design work, you must ensure that you have a written agreement with them agreeing that all intellectual property rights in their work will belong to you or your company. Without this agreement, they will own much of the valuable intellectual property in the work generated from your idea!

Protect your brand

If you have thought of a distinctive name for your software you may want to consider applying to register it as a registered trade mark, which makes it easier to take action against people copying your brand.

Without this protection, you might still be able to take action through a claim of passing off, but only if you can demonstrate your brand has a reputation attached to it.

 

Matt Worsnop is an Associate Solicitor at BHW Solicitors in Leicester and writes regularly on software law matters.

Keyword Research Software Is Great In The Right Hands…

Roy is the owner at Online Business Research Ltd, a provider of SEO services in the UK that specialises in helping small businesses get a decent foothold online. Contact Roy if you need speak with an SEO consultant in Warwickshire or throughout the UK and he will offer you a free consultation.

 

Dealing with keyword research is not easy for any business entrepreneur, and it is like gambling game. Keyword research requires knowledge and skills to have success in business activities. Keyword research does not mean is the ultimate success of business activities; it is a guideline of achieving success. Potential success in business activities is essential to every business entrepreneur. Business owners aim at getting huge profits instead of getting little profits over a range of time. High profits are beneficial, especially in expansion of business enterprise. The business is likely to grow at a fast rate if the profits are large during the first quarter of business activity. Continuous conduction of keyword research results to getting experience of the best niche to invest.

Experience in using keyword research is essential since the business owners will identify the appropriate place and time to conduct business. There are many businesses in the market, and each business sector has the best time and place to conduct it. For example, a restaurant business gets high profits during festive seasons especial those found near coastal line and beaches. The keyword research makes potential identification of key market to be easy and successful upon commencing the business. Google has Keyword Planner software that assists a business entrepreneur in conducting keyword research. The Google Company requires its users to have an account with them before using the Keyword Planner software in conducting keyword research.

Google Keyword Planner software is an international based tool that helps investors to identify business potentials in the local and global market. Other keyword research tools require business investors to have an account and subscription fee. These tools are essential to increase sales and boom in the business sector. FreshKey is a keyword research tool that requires $20 for subscription. FreshKey allows the users to regularly go beyond the expectations of the investor in identification of potential business sectors. It offers predictions, suggestions and trends on the available business. The popularity of business is part of sorting criteria in FreshKey software tool. Investors will also learn the negative keywords in the business world. The exploration of FreshKey helps the investors solve key problems they are facing before commencing on their business.

Soovle is a free software tool of conducting keyword research. Soovle is an easy tool to use especial for learners in keyword research. There is no need of finding a tutor or business experts in using Soovle toolkit since it has a help menu, and its interface is interactive. Soovle is perfect suite in conducting keyword research for short-term business activities that require little investment capital. The software helps investors not to look like idiots in the marketing and entrepreneurship world. There is solving of small business problems and explanation of current trends in different business sectors. Soolve allow its users to brainstorm on the best business to start and gives a chance for the investor to generate own ideas in conducting business.

Conveyancing and Moving House

Conveyancing is a legal process linked with transferring ownership of property from a party to another. Since Conveyancing and moving house is a legal process, there are complex terms that you should understand. When you understand the common terms, it will be easier for you to understand the process even if you hire a conveyance solicitor.

The common Conveyancing terms provided by BHW Solicitors Leicester are:

Agreement

An agreement is also known as the contract. When you exchange contracts, sale cannot be stopped unless it breached law.

Breach of contract

Once contracts are exchanged, it will be a breach of contract of any party pulls out of sale. Non-defaulting party can seek reparation from the defaulting party.

Basic fee

A solicitor will charge basic fee after instruction to undertake conveyance on your behalf. The fee caters for the cost of the solicitor’s knowledge and time. It is calculated on sliding scale based on value of the property on sale.

Client care letter

Solicitors usually send client care letter when you agree to use them for Conveyancing.  This is a formal contract that outlines grievance procedures in case there is a discrepancy. Read everything carefully before you sign.

Building insurance

When you exchange contracts, it is important to take out building insurance on the property as in most instances, you will be legally responsible. Building insurance covers cost of rebuilding in event of destruction during a fire or other calamity.

Fixture and fittings form

This is a form that sellers complete to state the items included in property sale.  The buyer must sign off before contracts are exchanged.

Caveat Emptor

‘Let the buyer beware’ is the literal translation of caveat emptor. It means that a buyer has responsibility to discover structural integrity of the property using a dependable surveyor.

Chain

Success of a purchase will depend on success of others. Many links in the chain might cause a sale to fail of another sale is unsuccessful.

HM Land Registry

The HM Land Registry is the department of government that deals with property ownership in United Kingdom.

Stamp duty

This is money charged to buyers on sliding scale according to price of property on sale. This money goes to HMRC.

Local authority searches

Searches are conducted during the initial stages of the conveyance. A search is designed to protect buyers from council plans that affect state of the property once they move in.

They only refer to plans that could affect a property up to its legal boundary. There is a more comprehensive search called planning search that you can get but at a higher cost by approximately £25.

Council for Licensed Conveyancers

Council for Licensed Conveyancers or (CLC) is a governing body that regulates and licenses conveyancers. You should ensure that a conveyancer is a licensed member before any engagement.

The process of Conveyancing and moving house ends when the seller receives full payment and the title deed reflects change of ownership.