How to Protect Software Copyright

Many programmers are concerned about sending their code to the Copyright Office, but it is not necessary. Copyright law protects ideas, not software. It only protects the first 25 pages and last page of an author’s work. It also protects trade secrets, which can be blacked out of the software. Software, however, is a lot more than just code. It does specific things that can’t be accomplished through the written word.

Intellectual property law

Software is a common form of IP that is protected by several different types of intellectual property law. Trade secrets, patents, and copyrights are all important forms of protection. While a patent protects a piece of technology, a trademark protects a name or symbol. The latter type of protection is especially relevant to software, as software can be used for various purposes, including piracy. To learn more about these protections, read on.

A work is generally considered an intellectual property when it was created by an individual. The laws that protect copyrights include those created by the author, including motion pictures. While a hummed tune is not protected, a song score can. The same goes for software. Copyrights can protect software that is developed by an outside company or individual. But what if the software has been used by more than one person?

Trade secrets are still a viable option for protecting software, but copyright is increasingly becoming a popular and viable alternative to patent protection. The question is: should copyrights be used alongside patents for software? The discussion will focus on this issue in an attempt to understand the viability of copyright. In general, it is better to protect your software by preventing other companies from using it. So far, there are many benefits of software copyright protection, but some are a bit more complicated than others.

Software copyrights protect code and user interface elements, as well as the code itself. In many cases, copyrights can be granted automatically, without any application or process. Copyrights are typically good for 50 years after publication, and even longer if the original creator keeps the source code and other elements of the software under lock and key. But software copyrights don’t give the owner monopoly over an idea.


Software companies can protect their copyrights by trademarking their name, logo, slogan, and company name. Adobe, for example, has a trademark on “Adobe” that prevents competitors from using the same or similar name. Trademark protection only applies to products that have similar markets. However, other products in different industries may use the same name. It is important to note that a trademark does not protect the source code of a software program.

Trade secrets are protected by law as long as the owner makes an effort to protect it and no one independently discovers it. While spying on a company is illegal, developing independently and copying software is not. Trademarks protect a specific product or brand and last for ten years. Trademarks are also essential for brands that rely on quality. This article will discuss how to protect software copyrights using trademarks.

Copyright protection is critical for your software. If someone else uses your software without your permission, you’re out of luck. Your competitors can use your software to create similar products. If you’ve spent thousands of hours developing your software, you can’t afford to have it copied by a competitor. Consider Apple’s example: Microsoft copied the graphical user interface of Apple’s Macintosh operating system and cornered the PC operating system market. Thankfully, there are ways to protect your work by using trademarks, patents, and copyrights.

It’s important to register all of your intellectual property rights and maintain them. If you can, create a comprehensive IP portfolio that includes fees, expiration dates, and other information. It will be important to keep track of infringements across various sites and platforms, as well as constantly update your IP portfolio. This will provide you with proof of ownership in the event of an infringement. You may even have to sue the offender if infringement occurs.


Patents for software copyright are one way to ensure that your software is protected. However, patents for software copyright are not without their problems. The USPTO backlog is extensive and patent applications are reviewed on a first come, first served basis. This backlog is particularly large for software patents because patent Examiners are specialized in particular fields and can take years to learn. Additionally, software is an ever-evolving field with a shelf life that may be only a few years.

The history of patents for software copyright is more complex than that of other areas of intellectual property law, such as copyright protection. Many academics and industry analysts believe that software cannot be patentable, but it may be a good idea to try anyway. After all, a software patent is a very powerful economic tool. It can cover many different aspects of a software program, including its editing functions, user interfaces, compiling techniques, operating system techniques, program algorithms, menu arrangements, display presentation, language translation methods, and many other areas. A patent can make software a valuable economic asset, and if a competitor tries to copyright it, the company can claim triple damages.

Software patents offer the most comprehensive intellectual property protection for software products. They protect novel processes, features, and the underlying source code. Patent holders have the exclusive right to sell, license, and create new versions of the software. Patents for software often cover proprietary processes, systems, functions, and algorithms. Some of the most common types of software patents are for games. These patents are granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and last for 20 years.


The abbreviation “AFC” stands for Abstraction-Filtration-Comparison. This is a method for identifying “substantial similarity” among two computer programs. The test determines whether the two computer programs contain elements that make them protected from copying. It was created by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1992.

The test works by dividing computer programs into literal and non-literal components. After determining which software elements are protected, the remaining components are evaluated to determine if they are also subject to other legal protection. California courts use the abbreviated test to identify elements of software that are protected under other forms of IP protection. Abstraction-filtration-comparison is a useful tool for protecting software copyright.

In his original paper, Stern criticized both software patenting and copyright. He argued that software is a physical object with behavior. He proposed a de jure sui generis registration system, but did not acknowledge the failure of de facto registration systems. His paper was well-criticized in comments on the manifesto concerning the legal protection of computer programs. In the end, he argued that copyright is more effective.

Although the Altai decision is illegitimate, it has been criticized by other countries as well. While the Altai decision favored copyright for software, it ignores the abstraction-filtration-comparison test that makes software copyrightable. Despite the illegitimacy of the Altai decision, the EC’s 1991 Directive on Legal Protection of Computer Programs (DLPC) rules are not clear enough on the software ideas that are inherent in the database structure. Even before that decision, the US Patent Office issued patents covering database structure.

Inherent necessity

Defending your computer software against infringement requires you to protect the program code and structure. The Fifth Circuit has ruled that the structure, sequence, and organization of computer programs are protected by copyright law. While compatibility does not play a clear role in this analysis, it is a crucial one. Here are some important things to keep in mind: