If you are developing software

The development of software typically implies different kinds of Intellectual Property rights. Protecting your IP efficiently will be key to your success.


In general, copyright covers original works of authorship. Thus, when you write code, it can be considered as an original work (e.g. source code, executable, intermediate representation, etc.) that is protected by copyright. The holder of the copyright may decide if, and under what conditions, a program may be temporarily or permanently copied, translated, adapted or otherwise altered, or distributed. A computer program is thus released with a license, which defines authorized uses and their limitations. Also open-source programs come with a license. When your computer program furthermore contains other original artistic works (music, animations, etc.), these are also protected by copyright.


You will be looking for a name to commercialize your software. It is important to protect your software name as a trademark in order to benefit from exclusivity on that name in your field of endeavour. Trademarks identify the commercial origin of the software and can thus help customers find the software they were looking for or trust in.


"Design" means the appearance of a product in whole or in part consisting for instance, in the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or materials of the product itself and/or its ornamentation. In the case of computer programs, notably web designs and graphical user interfaces may be protected by registered designs provided that they are new and have individual character.


Whereas computer programs are not patentable as such, technical methods implemented by or using a computer program may be patentable. In some situations, a patent may even allow you to obtain protection for the way a software operates, giving you a much broader protection than the copyright itself, which will always be limited to a specific expression.

Database rights

Your computer program may contain or use databases. These may benefit from protection arising from database rights. Database rights protect databases necessitating qualitatively and/or quantitatively substantial investment in either the obtaining, verification or presentation of the contents. The database rights holder may prevent extraction and/or re-utilization of the whole or of a substantial part, evaluated qualitatively and/or quantitatively, of the contents of the database. Protection lasts 15 full calendar years after completion or any substantial modification thereafter.

Domain names

In order to prepare the marketing of your software, you may also need to register a desired internet domain. Strictly speaking, a domain name isn’t an IP right. However, the availability of top level domains may have an important impact on your branding strategy. Accordingly, you should consider registration of different available candidate domains as early as possible.

IP is key to success

The above rights may be used cumulatively in the sense that they will protect the different aspects of your software development project. Successful ICT companies make extensive use of Intellectual Property rights, including patents. At Pronovem, we assist you competently in navigating the waters of IP and protecting your software adequately.