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Software and Intellectual Property Protection in Colombia

June 08, 2023

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Software and Intellectual Property Protection in Colombia

Strides in information technologies have allowed progress in different areas, such as medicine, education, industrial, graphics, fashion, and architectural design, communications, among others. Many of our daily activities involve a computer or some other programmable device that, together with software, allow us to carry them out in an easier way, such as purchases, work duties, bank transfers, services payment and taxes, and recreational activities.

The software is part of the intellectual property in Colombia and in other countries of the world. According to the Spanish Language Dictionary, software is defined as a "set of programs, instructions, and computer rules to perform certain tasks on a computer". Such is the case of Excel, Word, Internet browsers and many others.

Computer programs are present in many aspects of our lives, both in our work tasks and in our daily activities. After a software is invented, it is easy to reproduce it without requiring big expenses. If this happens, its creators will not have the possibility of recovering the money and time used, much less obtaining economic benefits; therefore, it is very important to protect these types of inventions.

Software Protection by Copyright

A computer program starts from a source code: an ordered group of instructions created by its inventor in order to tell the computer what to do to execute the program. As these instructions are expressed in written form, software is considered a literary work in terms of its protection, which is why it is protected by copyright. In this area, there are patrimonial rights and moral rights.

The patrimonial rights are those that grant the author the faculty to benefit economically from his creation. They can be transferred to third parties. In Colombia, copyrights are valid from the creation of the work to eighty years after the death of its author.

On the other hand, moral rights refer to the authority that the creators have to affirm that their works are their property and to protect them. These cannot be given or waived, in addition, its validity lasts forever.

Software Protection by Patent

An Invention Implemented by Computer (IIC) is a creation that needs a computer to be put into operation; This means that software linked to a data processor is needed to solve the problem, if one element is separated from the other, it would not produce the desired result.

Previously, the software was not protected by means of a patent; However, starting in 2012, it is possible to protect an IIC through this mechanism in Colombia. It is important to note that the separate computer program of the invention cannot be protected in this way.

This started when the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC) introduced comprehensive guidelines to ascertain the eligibility of software-related applications for examination, as outlined in the Guide for Examination of Invention and Utility Model Patent Applications.

Through these guidelines, the existence of computer-implemented inventions was duly acknowledged, and fundamental criteria were established to surmount the hurdle of non-invention, thereby paving the way for a meticulous analysis of the patentability of such applications. These criteria encompass two crucial aspects: firstly, the invention must pertain to a product or a process, and secondly, it should not solely revolve around the computer program itself.

Furthermore, in recent years, the SIC has adopted an additional criterion during the evaluation of these applications, focusing on the presence of a technical application for the claimed invention.

The protection of a software through a patent is valid as of the moment in which the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC) grants the registration of the invention. The backup of the computer program lasts 20 years.

Legal advice is a very useful tool to obtain legal protection for your software. At AGT Attorneys we have a group of professionals willing to help you protect your invention so that only you are the one who receives the economic benefits of its creation.

Contact us at +57 310 5706331 or fill out in this Contact Form. Our experienced attorneys are ready to assist you and handle your case.

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