The vast majority of the copyright work we do at DRM is for the technology industry, specifically software, where it has become increasingly important to take advantage of appropriate IP protection. While copyrights are a very common type of IP protection for software, all four types of intellectual property rights are potentially relevant since each affords a different type of legal protection. DRM’s attorneys will help you understand the scope and limitations of each type of protection before deciding which is most appropriate. A patent can protect the novel ideas embodied in a software program; a copyright protects the way source and object code are expressed, as well as certain unique original elements of the user interface; trade secrets protect a formula, pattern or process that is not generally known, is kept secret by its holder and provides a competitive advantage; and, trademarks protect the mark used to identify the software. As you can see, each intellectual property right has a specific scope of protection. DRM’s attorneys will work with you to assess your software assets and determine which protection type of intellectual property is most appropriate to maximize your legal rights and minimize you legal risks associated with the development of software code products.
DRM’s copyright attorneys are flexible, creative problem solvers focused on your IP matters.
Our copyright team has a deep experience base, and several of our directors gained that experience while working at and for some of the country’s largest software companies. It is well-known that repetition helps an individual achieve a higher level of performance. With so much experience, our team has ability to quickly see through clutter and get right to the heart of your copyright matter. In addition to helping you develop the right strategy to protect and capitalize on your software, we’ll collaborate with you to make sure we understand both your business goals and the resulting parameters of your project – like risk-tolerance, budget and timeline. We are as flexible in our approach to the work as we are creative in identifying all the legal options available to you. We tailor our solutions to fit our client’s needs and budgets, enabling you to clearly understand the business/legal trade-offs to the various potential solutions so you can actively participate in the legal process as much, or as little, as you prefer.
DRM’s copyright attorneys understand the business of innovation and how to capitalize on it.
While we have a particular penchant for assisting clients with copyright protection for software, our team represents clients in all aspects of copyright law, including securing client rights in digital media and copyright licensing. In addition to filing applications and procuring copyright registrations, our attorneys provide advice and counsel on protecting copyrights throughout the world. We can help you collect the evidence to demonstrate a robust code development process to enhance the value of developed products, and thus your business, to prospective investors and acquirers. We enforce copyrights through litigation when necessary, and defend against claims of copyright infringement. Typically, our copyright work falls into two categories:
Product Clearance. We conduct a thorough analyses of the software products you have in development to ensure that (i) you have clear ownership rights over content provided by employees and contractors, and (ii) third party open source and proprietary code components included in such products are subject to license terms consistent with the your business objectives, and (iii) that your licensing terms with your customers are appropriate.
Client Counseling. Our team provides advice and counsel to clients on critical copyright-related matters such as (i) ownership and licensing issues arising from third party contributions to software products developed in agile, waterfall and other development environments, (ii) permissible use of third party application program interfaces (APIs), and (iii) situations in which copyright registration is necessary or otherwise appropriate.
Here are a few examples of our innovative approach to copyright law:
- When a Downs Rachlin Martin client providing eCommerce and eMarketing solutions in an on-line retail space found its materials copied by a competitor, Downs Rachlin attorneys successfully obtained a preliminary injunction and ultimately a permanent injunction based on copyright infringement. While the district court initially denied the preliminary injunction, finding the disputed material not copyrightable, on appeal to the 2nd Circuit, Downs Rachlin attorneys persuaded the court of appeals that the material was copyrightable, leading to reversal of the district court and entry of the preliminary injunction. But Downs Rachlin’s assistance to the client did not end with the enjoining of the infringement. Despite an initial denial of coverage, after litigation with the client’s insurer, our attorneys secured insurance coverage to pay for the defense of a counterclaim brought by the defendant in the underlying copyright action, a counterclaim that Downs Rachlin attorneys succeeded in having dismissed.
- In another copyright case, a competitor copied our client’s packaging and product instructions. Our copyright attorneys filed suit in federal district court seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction. After a hearing on the preliminary injunction, the case settled with the competitor removing all of the infringing materials from the market and paying the bulk of our client’s legal fees.
- Copyright claims also frequently arise along with other IP rights claims, and Downs Rachlin attorneys are well prepared with a full range of IP experience to handle such cases. In one case, a competitor copied our client’s product instructions and infringed the client’s trademarked product configuration. Downs Rachlin attorneys filed suit in federal district court seeking an injunction and damages. After filing suit, our attorneys negotiated a settlement resulting in removal of the infringing product from the market and surrender of the molds used to make it.