Software Copyright in India

Innovative software or mobile applications are protected through patents and copyright registration in India.
mobile app patent registration

Introduction

Innovative software or mobile applications are protected through patents and copyright registration in India. Copyright law protects the source code of the software or mobile app whereas patent protects the technical features of the same. In use, copyright registration protects the rights of the creator on his work to specifically reproduce or copy or publish it for monetary gains or otherwise. As per the copyright law, registration though not mandatory, gives an exclusive legal right to the creator.

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Term of Copyright

Copyright subsists from the time it is published, within the lifetime of the author and sixty years after the author dies as per the section 22 of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957. In use, registering of the copyright protects the ownership of the work from any unnecessary disputes. In any probable copyright infringement, the certificate of registration of copyright and the Register of Copyright make “admissible evidence” in the court of law. This will serve as prima facie evidence to prove ownership of the copyright.

Website Copyright

A website is a compilation of text, photographs, graphics, computer programs and videos, created by several people. Thus one must own the copyright to the parts of a website created, to ensure copyright over the whole website. The Indian Copyright Office does not offer any inclusive website registration service; thus every element of the website is required to be registered through separate applications. Thus blanket copyright over the entire website cannot persist, only copyrights over the individual components of the website must be applied. Hence, things to keep in mind for website copyright are:

  • Copyright registration will cover the copyrightable elements of the website that are submitted to the copyright office as part of the registration.
  • Updates to websites must be registered distinctly.
  • For a computer program that launches the format of text and graphics when a website is viewed on a computer screen, one can register a copyright in the computer program, but the registration cannot cover the content of the website.

Copyright Registration Procedure

Copyright Registration and the grant of certificates are administered by the Copyright Act, 1957 (as amended in 2012), and Copyright Rules 2013 (as amended in 2013, 2016). The Copyright Office has an online mechanism for copyright registration with the required fees.

Online Filing of Copyright

The copyright registration process is initiated through online filing mechanism including creating basic filing form, filling the Form XIV, filling the Statement of Particulars, filling the Statement of Further particulars, and then making the payment.

Once the application is filed, the applicant receives a diary number. Subsequently, the applicant has to wait for a mandatory period of 30 days so that no objection is filed in the Copyright office against the claim for the particular work.

Trademark Protection

Innovative software tools and mobile apps require trademark protection as well to build a brand. The brand further needs legal protection by way of trademarks for doing international business. Brand owners approach global marketing as a strategy to ensure maximum benefits, which makes it crucial to file trademark applications across various classes of goods or services. To promote a business in the digital world, appropriate protection for domain name is also required.

In addition, companies using innovative digital tools need to focus on data protection and privacy as well. In the absence of best practices, such issues become serious challenges for business owners. Brand owners also need cybersecurity tools to ensure the safety of data along with the required regulatory compliance. Legal experts and attorneys with expertise in technology law work closely with clients for advising on various aspects, such as, data security and privacy, information technology, financial, health, employment and personal privacy, litigation, intellectual property rights, technology transactions, business agreements and contracts.

Our team of advanced patent attorneys assists clients with patent searches, drafting patent applications, and patent (intellectual property) agreements, including licensing and non-disclosure agreements.

Advocate Rahul Dev is a Patent Attorney & International Business Lawyer practicing Technology, Intellectual Property & Corporate Laws. He is reachable at rd (at) patentbusinesslawyer (dot) com & @rdpatentlawyer on Twitter.

Quoted in and contributed to 50+ national & international publications (Bloomberg, FirstPost, SwissInfo, Outlook Money, Yahoo News, Times of India, Economic Times, Business Standard, Quartz, Global Legal Post, International Bar Association, LawAsia, BioSpectrum Asia, Digital News Asia, e27, Leaders Speak, Entrepreneur India, VCCircle, AutoTech).

Regularly invited to speak at international & national platforms (conferences, TV channels, seminars, corporate trainings, government workshops) on technology, patents, business strategy, legal developments, leadership & management.

Working closely with patent attorneys along with international law firms with significant experience with lawyers in Asia Pacific providing services to clients in US and Europe. Flagship services include international patent and trademark filingspatent services in India and global patent consulting services.

Global Blockchain Lawyers (www.GlobalBlockchainLawyers.com) is a digital platform to discuss legal issues, latest technology and legal developments, and applicable laws in the dynamic field of Digital Currency, Blockchain, Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and raising capital through the sale of tokens or coins (ICO or Initial Coin Offerings).

Blockchain ecosystem in India is evolving at a rapid pace and a proactive legal approach is required by blockchain lawyers in India to understand the complex nature of applicable laws and regulations.

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