How do you protect a software? Intellectual property rights groups

Imagine a world in which there is no right of ownership over any tangible or intangible asset. For example, when you buy a car, any person could take away your car without any remorse or fear of being punished/criminally prosecuted. Since everything is everyone’s and nothing is anyone’s, you wouldn’t even buy that car, but you would “borrow” one in your neighborhood. As no one buys what is free, so the producers do not see the point in producing what does not bring them any benefit. In such a world, where nothing has value, no one has a motive to do anything. Clearly, there is no further development!

However, it is fortunate that we do not live in such a world and that in reality, no matter how much some people say that nothing works and that nothing can be protected, there are still rules, procedures and ways to compensate for any product.

In this regard, in this post, we will talk about two subgroups of intellectual property rights:

1) copyright and related rights

2) industrial property rights

Copyright and related rights

Copyright is a form of legal protection for works of literature, science, art, music, cinema, architecture and similar. Let’s clarify some things right at the beginning. The idea as something abstract, which is still for the most part only a product of our thinking, without the possibility of practical application or presentation in the form of a work, cannot be protected. So, if we imagine a device that would allow people to teleport, it is not possible to protect this idea only on the basis of our thoughts, it is necessary to devise the entire technical structure and the way in which this idea could become applicable in practice. If we write a book in which we write about people from space who own teleportation devices, then even though the device is mentioned in the book it is again not possible to protect the same, but it is possible to protect the book as a work, which of course is copyright.

Copyright arises and belongs to the author on the basis of the very act of creating the author’s work and is not conditioned by the fulfillment of any formalities or requirements regarding its content, quality or purpose. This right lasts during the life of the author and 70 years after his/her death, and in case the author’s work is owned by a legal entity, in that case the right lasts for 70 years from the day of publication.

We often say in practice that software cannot be protected by a patent, which is partly true – patent protection of a software is still not possible in Europe. However, in the US it is possible and the most common patent protection is used for algorithms and mathematical procedures used in the software. The original and executable code of the software, structure and organization of the code, parts or the entire user interface, as well as all manuals, instructions and other digital or written documentation is protected by copyright.

The official website of the Institute for Intellectual Property of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Related rights states, among other things, that they differ from the copyright in terms of:

– right holders (not authors, but performers, producers of phonograms, movie producers …)

– object of protection (performance, phonogram, videogram …), and

– duration of protection (related rights last shorter than copyright…).

In order to have solid proof that the copyright work is indeed yours, you may or may not deposit the originals or copies of your copyright works or related rights with the Institute for Intellectual Property of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has offices in Sarajevo, Mostar and Banja Luka.

Read more about software protection methods on CARNet.

By definition, Industrial property encompasses the rights by which manufacturers protect their business interests from competitors, market position, and funds invested in research, development, and promotion. The most commonly used forms of industrial property protection are:

  • patent,
  • stamp,
  • industrial design.

More about the forms of Industrial property, ways of protection, rules and forms will be available in the upcoming articles.

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