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Patent, copyright and trade secret protection for computer software

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1 Author(s)
Donovan, S. ; Law Center, Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Several ways to protect software are examined. Patents confer a limited monopoly, which protects the patent holder against all later independent developers of the same or equivalent program. Utility-patent applications typically require several thousand dollars in fees and costs prior to issuance of the patent. Design-patent applications are relatively much cheaper to file and process through the Patent Office. Copyright protects the literal code, and possibly the programs' structure and organization, against copying. Copyright registration applications can usually be prepared for a few hundred dollars, including any attorney time. Trade-secret protection for software is a viable alternative, if the program cannot be easily copied by purchasers. The cost for protecting a trade secret depends on the measures necessary to keep the information from general public disclosure.<>

Published in:

Antennas and Propagation Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:34 ,  Issue: 1 )