To speak to an intellectual property lawyer about the law surrounding information and communications technology, contact us on 0333 323 5292 or fill in the enquiry form on this page and let us know a suitable time to get back to you.
What is Information and Communications Technology?
Less an area of law than the test bed for many of its new developments, this is an industry which comes daily into contact with all the aspects of intellectual property law. In particular, the comparatively new area of cloud computing is one which few businesses have come adequately to grips with, either in terms of assessing their risk on an operational or compliance basis or of scoping out the potential it could offer them for new business models.
Our team has made a particular focus on these areas and its members’ comprehensive skill set and range of experience mean that they are ideally placed to offer state of the art advice and guidance to businesses involved in these fields either as suppliers or users.
Our specialist solicitors have over 50 years’ experience between them and can help you and your business by drafting software and development licences, assignments of copyright as required and maintenance agreements. We provide honest advice on the risks associated with each agreement and recommend any necessary amendments.
We can also argue or defend infringements in the specialist intellectual property section of the High Court or Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, as well as use alternative dispute resolution procedures, such as arbitration and mediation, to manage disputes without animosity.
The Difference Between Purchasing Hardware, Software and IT Systems
Although software is delivered in tangible form (e.g. on a CD-ROM), the software ‘code’ itself is an intangible intellectual property, protected by copyright law and in some cases by a patent. In general, you do not purchase the copyright in the software outright. While you may purchase a physical CD-ROM which you will own, you do not own the software on that CD-ROM. Instead, you purchase a licence allowing you to use the software in accordance with the terms of the licence. Ownership of the software remains with the copyright owner (usually the company which originally created the software).
If you commission bespoke software or use a consultant to modify software for you, you should ensure that the contract specifies that you will own the copyright – otherwise, you may be unable to make further changes to the software without permission, and may have to make further payments to the original software developer.
When you purchase a computer system, the contract may involve a mix of these, and may include other organisations as well as the final supplier. As a simple example, if you buy a computer system, including some installed software, the supplier might sell you the hardware and various services (e.g. installation and configuration) but your use of the software could still be governed by a licence from the original software developer or publisher.