GINTASSET Intellectual Property Law Firm - Intellectual property law confuses software makers GINTASSET

Intellectual property law confuses software makers

Many local software firms are still puzzled about how to apply the newly passed intellectual property law in their operations, heard a seminar in HCMC last Tuesday.

Company owners raised questions at the seminar on how to deal with employees and business partners in a field whose products are solely the fruits of intellectual creation.

One of the major confusions concerns patent and copyright, which protect any application. Most of the companies at the seminar could not tell the difference.

"If I list my programmers as authors of our company's software, will I be in trouble when they use their copyright to reproduce the software at another company?" asked the owner of a software firm.

"And what if they use their author's right to sue us or prevent us from making improvements to the software?" another asked.

Copyright grants an author the right to protect the work so that no one can legally change the software without the author's consent, said workshop instructor Dao Minh Duc.

"But the author has to prove such changes harm his or her prestige," said Duc, who is also head of the intellectual property department of the HCMC Service of Science and Technology.

Meanwhile, a company can preserve their ownership of a software program. Duc said if the company owned a patent for the software, people who participated in creating it could not reproduce it elsewhere.

Late last year, Vietnam passed the first act of a law on intellectual property, which still shows some differences compared to world conventions.

Programmers' ownership of applications they write for a company is handled differently in Vietnam.

Duc said in other countries, programmers whose task it is to write software modules for a company were not generally considered authors of the software.

(Saigon time daily – 1 June, 2006)

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Lien He
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