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Patent, copyright and trade secret protection for software

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Crucial to the value of computers has been the development of software. Software development can require many hours of programming work. Typically, complex software is developed by a team of engineers and computer scientists working on separate modules, later assembled into the complete routines of a program. The development of computer programs requires the investment of considerable human, technical, and financial resources. Just as clear is the fact that programs can be copied for a fraction of the cost needed to develop them independently. Thus, legal protection is important not only to facilitate commercialization of software, but also to discourage unauthorized counterfeiting and modification of programs. Essentially there are only three ways to protect computer software under the law: patent it, register a copyright for it, or keep it as a trade secret. Each of these separate types of legal protection creates a "monopoly" that is, an exclusive right to use or to prevent others from using the protected subject matter.<>

Published in:

Potentials, IEEE  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 3 )