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The modern digital age has brought us an environment in the form of digital technologies such as computers, tablets, phones, various software and applications. The different software we use today help us automate tasks, optimize processes, provide effective solutions for different needs, but are also supportive in learning, research, transport, entertainment. 

Can we imagine a day without using software or communication apps?

As we at LionEight are engaged in the development of software solutions, an important aspect of business is that we know and understand how we can protect this kind of innovation. In this blog, we will look at and explore the legal dimension of intellectual property rights in the IT sector.

 

Intellectual property law aims to protect the creative and intellectual creations of individuals, companies and organizations. These rights grant the holder the exclusive right to use, reproduce and protect his original works or innovations from unauthorized use by others.

WHAT IS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY?

Intellectual property is defined as a product that originated from human creativity and ideas, and can cover a variety of areas, including copyright, patents, trademarks, designs, trade secrets. 

It is important to understand that intellectual property is not the physical ownership of a material object, but a legally recognized right or set of powers that allow the rightholder to control and protect its creation.

Under the law of the Republic of Serbia, intellectual property is divided into two groups:

  • Copyright refers to original creations in which the degree of expression of the personality of their creator is the highest) and related rights (an economic enterprise that recognizes the right as something that needs to be protected (the right of interpreters, the right of producers of phonograms, the right of producers of videograms (the right of a film producer), the right of the producer of the show, the right of the manufacturer of the database)).
  • Industrial property law (patent law, trademarks), the right to protect industrial designs, etc.

A patent represents the exclusive right of its holder to use the protected invention economically. Unlike the USA, software protection is not provided through a patent, but through copyright, but copyright protection of software is generally accepted both in Serbia and in the world. There are different opinions about whether software should be protected by patents or exclusively through copyright, and with the development of the industry this is becoming an issue that is attracting increasing attention.

A trademark in the IT industry is a mark or names of software that can be trademarked in order to prevent the use of the same or similar markings. In this slism, the labels help build recognition and distinguish one software product from others in the market.

Trade secrets in IT can be pieces of software code, algorithms or business processes that represent competitive advantages and can be kept as a trade secret. This legal protection implies maintaining the confidentiality of certain information. 

PROTECTION OF SOFTWARE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

According to the Law on Copyright and Related Rights of rs, the very thoughts and ideas are not subject to legal protection, but copyright protection is acquired through the materialization of the work in a certain form. 

This implies that copyright protects a specific form of creativity, not the essence or the idea itself.

When we transfer this to our business, it means that if two different developers come up with a similar solution, but use different codes, both software can be copyrighted.

The copyright holder receives legal protection against unauthorized use of the work at the time of creation of the work and no application is required to the competent authority, i.e. registration of a copyright work, but often the author decides to register copyright for the software because although it is not required, it facilitates the provision of evidence of the existence of copyright and copyright.

As a company that owns the rights, the Law on Copyright and Related Rights of the Republic of Serbia gives us the opportunity to prevent unauthorized copying, distribution and interactive creation of an accessible database or its essential parts and the right to transfer the right to use the software solution by granting a license under certain conditions. 

LionEight company is oriented towards the IT industry through the development of innovative and reliable web and mobile applications in the transport industry, which are a copyright work within the meaning of the Law on Copyright and Related Rights of the Republic of Serbia.

The legal aspects that it companies should pay special attention to when it comes to intellectual property protection are:

LICENSING 

When establishing cooperation, we meticulously approach the drafting of contracts, in order to ensure that the provisions of the contract are clear, precise and understandable for both parties. The contract regulates mutual rights and obligations, rules of use, limitation of liability, and in addition, it is also proof of the possession of a license and recognition of ownership of the software.

EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT 

When we talk about the specificities of contracts in the IT sector, we will also look at the relationship between the employee and the company. In the IT sector, data protection plays a key role, and the relationship between employer and employee in this context has specifics that relate in particular to confidentiality, ethics and proper management of information. 

There is a precise provision in the Law regarding the rights of the employer when the copyright work was created by an employee during the employment relationship. The employer is the permanent holder of all exclusive property rights in the act, unless otherwise stipulated in the contract.

VIOLATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THIRD PARTIES

Often indispensable elements within IT solutions are open source software (OSS) models that depend on copyright legislation, determining how software is used, modified and distributed.

It is important to take into account potential violations of third-party rights, especially in situations where the developer uses previously created pieces of code or even parts of other authors' code in software he develops for the IT company. 

Non-regulation of such intellectual property can lead to violations of the rights of third parties, with potentially high financial consequences due to such violations, so it is very important that the developer takes care.

PROTECTION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

Consideration and identification of intellectual property before use can significantly reduce the risk of copyright infringement and facilitate the legal regulation of situations that may arise during software development. Each state, on the basis of its legislative sovereignty and territorial principle, enacts its own intellectual property laws. There are no "international copyrights" that automatically protect copyrighted works around the world. We believe that education is of great importance, which will familiarize the population with the legal regulations in this area, as well as the use of software, but also the consequences that may result from the violation of these rights.

Each of the above types of intellectual property rights provides the holder with certain privileges and protections in connection with the use, reproduction or distribution of their intellectual creations.

This system provides an incentive for individuals and companies to invest in research, development and creativity, knowing that they will be protected from unauthorized use or copying. 

Intellectual property issues may not seem so important compared to material property that is tangible to us and that we protect with various security mechanisms, but from an economic point of view, this is a value that is very significant. 

Intellectual property issues may not seem so important compared to material property that is tangible to us and that we protect with various security mechanisms, but from an economic point of view, this is a value that is very significant. 

In modern society, especially in the sphere of IT business, intellectual property constitutes an essential aspect of business development, and any unauthorized use can cause significant consequences, prejudice to competitive positions in the market.

 

Sources:

Law on Copyright and Related Rights "Official Gazette of RS", no. 104/2009, 99/2011, 119/2012, 29/2016 – Decision US and 66/2019)

Law on Patents ("Official Gazette of RS", No. 99/2011, 113/2017 – Other Law, 95/2018, 66/2019 and 123/2021)

Law on Trademarks ("Official Gazette of RS", no. 6/2020)

https://www.zis.gov.rs/prava/intelektualna-svojina/

https://zuniclaw.com/