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"Creating and Protecting Software Intellectual Property Rights"




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 : Interesting Tutorial Alternatives : Wednesday : Wednesday Afternoon Tutorials (13:30 - 17:00)

Creating and Protecting Software Intellectual Property Rights

Royal Palm Salon 5
Wednesday, 13:30, half day



Dion Messer, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati

Tutorial number: 43

In this age of growing intellectual property rights for software and business processes, it is imperative that software developers understand what those rights are and the mechanisms used to protect them. Failing to adequately protect software may leave its owners and developers with no recourse should a third party misappropriate the design or implementation.

This tutorial explains how software intellectual property rights can be protected through patents, copyrights, and trade secrets. It compares and contrasts the procurement, cost, and scope of protection of all three. It also addresses protecting software from both the outside—theft by a third party—as well as from the inside—theft by transient employees, contractors, etc.

Software intellectual property rights are further complicated by the fact that three sets of ownership rules govern contractors, regular employees hired to develop the software, and other employees. This tutorial explains the differences in those rules for each type of protection and their implications to both organizations and individuals.

Finally, employers can implement procedures to protect them from potential lawsuits when they hire ex-employees of competitors. This tutorial explains these procedures, which include stringent software code control to archive each version of the software as it is developed.

Beginner: Anyone interested in creating and maintaining software intellectual property rights.

Dion Messer, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati:  Ms. Messer is an intellectual property attorney licensed in Texas, California*, and at the PTO. Education: JD, University of Texas School of Law; MS Electrical Engineering, University of Texas; and BS Electrical Engineering, New Mexico State University. She is currently a clerk to the Honorable William Bryson on the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Prior to practicing law, she was an active co-owner of Objective Engineering, Inc., a company that provides training and consulting in object technology, and an engineer for 18 years. She has nine patents and has published extensively in the area of digital signal processing. *Pending the formal swearing in scheduled on April 23, 2005.