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Copyright laws , Intellectual Property rights, and Software development

By Mickster269 ·
I have a theoretical question.

Say Company "A" develops a software program. While unique in it's inception (it preforms a task that no other program has attempted previously), it uses common programming code, pre-established formulas, and a generic interface. In a nutshell, it automates a task normally done via pencil and paper. Let's call it "Menu" for simplicity's sake. (And also, that is what it basically is.)

Company "B" enters the picture, and buys the "Menu". They purchase the code, as is, and request that Company "A" no longer use it, or allow their clients to use it.

What are the restrictions, requirements, etc, regarding Company "A" writing a NEW "Menu" program? Of course, the graphics would be different. But what else is protected?

And, I need to be more specific about anything?

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This actually

by Jaqui In reply to Copyright laws , Intellec ...

makes the assumption that there is no patent on the software.

copyright belongs to who wrote the code, unless that was included in the sale, and if not, then company b can't stop company a from using it, or thier clients.

if the copyright was included, then company a has to stop using the code.

if there is a patent, then company a is screwed.
if no patent then company a can write similar code all they want.

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I guess I really wasn't as clear as I thought

by Mickster269 In reply to This actually

Jaqui -

Sorry about that. Let me clarify.

Company "A" has no intent on using the exisiting program. What they want to do is create a new program, that performs the exact same function as the previous program.

There are no patents on the original program, and while not "Officially" copyrighted, the standard laws concerning copyrights apply.

What, if any restrictions are there on the creation of a new program ?

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by Jaqui In reply to I guess I really wasn't a ...

Copyright cannot stop company a from creating similar work at all.
Patents could.

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by Mickster269 In reply to none..

I appreciate your input!

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reply after 1st clearify

by rob mekel In reply to Copyright laws , Intellec ...

If a company creates a brand NEW MENU
not using any program stuff put in the first MENU, they will be allowed to do so.
Regardless what the outcome off that MENU will be. But do keep in mind that it has the restriction of not using any of the stuff put in the prior MENU!!

Whenever using stuff of the prior MENU they could get trouble.

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When you say "program stuff"

by Mickster269 In reply to reply after 1st clearify

DO you mean pure code, or the method of getting from the start to the finish of the program?

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the code

by apotheon In reply to When you say "program stu ...

Copyright covers the source code. Patent covers things like process, "look and feel", and so on.

The easiest way to ensure that an attempt to sue for copyright infringement won't meet with success when reimplementing some software concept is to rewrite it from scratch in a different language. Your software can, structurally, be identical without infringement of copyright, as long as your source code bears no syntactical resemblance to the original.

This can actually provide additional benefits, as the semantic structure and syntax of the new language might suggest improvements over the original design architecture as well.

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There shouldnt be a problem

by stargazerr In reply to Copyright laws , Intellec ...

If company A produces a "similar" software since the original one was not patented. But if something which seems to be a xerox copy of the first one is created, it will cause a problem since Company B will fail to understand that it is a brand new copy and not the original.

There will be some trouble yes (in the manner of verbal disagreement)... But legally, it should be ok to produce a similar Menu.


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Legal vs Litigatable

by Cactus Pete In reply to There shouldnt be a probl ...

There may be a question about the owner of the Intellectual Property.

The original statement was the B asked A not to use MENU anymore, and to not allow their clients to use it.

The trick is in the wording of the contract you signed. You'll have to pose this same question to your attorney and let that person review the contract for this specific case.

Without seeing the contract, there is no way any of us can give you good advice.

At any rate, you'll have to determine, even if creating NEWMENU is deemed legal, if you want to potentially be sued by B for it. Is this worth the litigation costs if that were to happen?

Always have your attorney review the contracts before you sign them, and always try to think about the future work when entering into the contract. Future works should always be specified in the contract.

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by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Legal vs Litigatable

If they've bought the unique concept, it's theirs. If they've bought the code that's merely one implementation of the concept, coming up qith a recognisably different implementation would be easy, whether it's worth doing that depends on how marketable the concept is.

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