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Next up in the Learning Stream was Alex Chapman from Sheridans, a media law firm, to talk about Identity, Protect, Enforce, Exploit (IPEE) and successfully protecting your software. He asked us to think about the work that goes into developing software for a client and how it can be protected.

Software can’t be patented in the UK but it can be copyrighted. When dealing with software it is important to ensure you protect your rights.

How to protect your rights

As soon as your software can start attracting copyrighting, it will do, so it’s important to ensure that you are not restricted in any way.

  • Software – employees and consultants, good papers.
  • Copyright
  • Brand –TM, domain, social networks; use it or lose it.

How to exploit it?

  • Licensing: one-off, developer, enterprise, white label. Think about what suits your business best.
  • Software as a Service: access only, upgrades and hosting. Again think about how much control you want and how much income you’d like to gain.
  • Sell: Sell the whole thing but watch out for price chips.
  • Ensure that someone has to pay whether it’s a whole service or a license to use it themselves.

Often clients are not software development-minded and they don’t understand the work that goes in to your software and the detailed aspects of it. It’s your baby and you want to ensure you’re completely covered. Why should they go with you rather than in-house development? Your product is ready, you have the knowhow and other client’s modifications. Make sure they know that.

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