The world of software is complicated. Not only because the software is a complex combination of codes, but also because its very particular nature has repercussions on the methods of protection. The protection of a software , in fact, can mainly follow two paths: copyright or patent. The two solutions can coexist, but, in general, which of the two is the best? brand protection software.
First of all, you need to know that software has always been subject to copyright legislation, and therefore to copyright . It might seem strange, but the “computer program” – this is its Italian definition – falls by law in the works of genius of a creative nature , just like a book or a piece of music. This protection arises with the work itself and can be immediately claimed, although it is advisable to deposit the software in the appropriate Public Registry for the Software .
However, copyright essentially protects the form of the work and can therefore prove to be incomplete protection. This has led to a debate on the possibility of using patents and on the more general issue of software patentability . The patent is considered an instrument of greater protection as it fully protects an inventive concept. However, it can only be requested if the software in question proposes a solution that solves a technical problem in an innovative and non-obvious way . This innovativeness must be found in characteristics of a technical nature. There must therefore be a “ technical effect”Further than the normal interaction of the software with the hardware device.
Basically, copyright and patent confer two different types of protection . The copyright protects the software as it is written, thus protecting the shape of the code . The patent , on the other hand, protects the functionality of the software , therefore the way it works and the result it leads to, regardless of the form of the code. This prevents, for example, the phenomenon of “reverse engineering” , ie the design by third parties of a different code that gives the same result. Overall, patent protection is much more comprehensive but also more difficult, expensive and time-consuming to obtain.
So, ultimately, is copyright or patent better? It depends. Both from the characteristics of the software, as we have seen, and from the protection needs to which the programmer wants to respond. In fact, the real first question to ask is: what do we want to protect? The code or its copy? Its execution or tracing? The right answer, always and in any case, is to rely on professionals who are experts in patents and copyrights in order to identify the path that best suits your protection and business needs.