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Software and Intellectual Property Protection in Colombia

October 03, 2018

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Man stealing Software Breaking the Law
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 this type of inventions.

Software Protection by Copyright

Copyright Icon in Keyboard 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.

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. For more information, contact us at +57 1 702-3671 or through the contact form on this page. We will gladly answer all your concerns.

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