Tips on avoiding software intellectual property infringement

Tips on avoiding software intellectual property infringement

Dan Hedley of Thomas Eggar's Technology, media and telecoms team gives practical tips to consider when dealing with software licence agreements

Computer software is complex, and there are a wide range of intellectual property (IP) rights which can subsist in it: copyright in the program code, documentation and user interface, database right in data provided with it, and, potentially, patents in some of the underlying ideas and inventions, to take just a few examples. Complying with IP rights in computer software is therefore not always completely straightforward. Here are a few practical things to look out for.

Scope of use
Software is usually licensed for use within a particular scope. Because most of the acts of “using” computer programs (copying to a hard drive, loading into memory, causing a processor to execute instructions, displaying on screen and so on) are acts restricted by copyright law, it is important not to exceed the scope of the licence you have been granted. Here are some common scope of use restrictions which you may come across:

  • A limit on number of users or computers, which may be a simple limit or may be based on “concurrency” (i.e. live users at any given point in time).
  • A limit on which legal entities can use the software; do not assume that, because one group entity is licensed to use a piece of software, others are too.This sounds like a subtle point but it actually becomes critical in the context of a restructuring, a sale or an acquisition.
  • A restriction on geographical territory, perhap

Subscription Form

Related Articles:
Latest Articles:

Already a subscriber? Login
RELX (UK) Limited, trading as LexisNexis, and our LexisNexis Legal & Professional group companies will contact you to confirm your email address. You can manage your communication preferences via our Preference Centre. You can learn more about how we handle your personal data and your rights by reviewing our  Privacy Policy.

Access this article and thousands of others like it free by subscribing to our blog.

Read full article

Already a subscriber? Login

About the author: