Protecting software abroad: legal aspects

Registering intellectual property rights for software abroad plays an important role in ensuring the protection of your property. However, before you decide which country to do this registration in, let's look at why you need to do it in the first place, given that in many countries, the rights are automatically established once the product is created:

1) Protection from piracy: registering in countries with a strong reputation for protecting intellectual property rights will help you fight against illegal copying and distribution of your software.

2) Tax benefits: In some countries, registering intellectual property rights can lead to tax benefits and reduced tax liabilities. This aspect may be an important factor when choosing a country for registration.

3) Global Presence: If your software is intended for a global market, then registering in multiple countries can be helpful to ensure your property is protected in different parts of the world.

The choice of country for registering intellectual property rights for software depends on your specific needs and your business strategy. It should be carefully considered and may require legal and intellectual property experts' consultation. The following factors influence the choice of jurisdiction:

- geographical location of the business;

- the main markets in which your software will be used;

- the cost and complexity of the registration procedure in each country;

- the tax burden;

- specifics of national legislation;

- existence of international agreements on the avoidance of double taxation.

Let's look at three of the most developed legal systems for protecting intellectual property in the world:

1) UK: Copyright arises automatically when software is created, does not require formal registration through any authority or procedure, and is protected for 70 years after the author's death under the Berne Convention. However, to enhance protection and the possibility of obtaining statutory remedies in the event of infringement, we recommend registering your copyright with the UK Copyright Service. The cost of the procedure and processing time depends on the selected submission method (online or by mail) and the volume of materials.

2) USA: Intellectual rights must be registered with the Copyright Office of the United States. An advantageous difference from the UK is the possibility of statutory compensation for copyright infringement, namely fixed amounts of compensation established by law that can be recovered from the copyright infringer without the need to prove actual damage.

3) EU: Generally, the procedure and benefits of registering software copyright in these countries will be similar due to the harmonization of EU copyright laws. All EU member states recognize copyright automatically when a work is created and do not require formal registration to obtain protection. However, in some cases, for example, to provide additional security or to make it easier to prove rights in legal disputes, registration with national authorities or through WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), a UN agency that promotes the protection of intellectual property rights worldwide, may be useful through cooperation between states. WIPO helps coordinate and standardize systems for protecting copyrights, patents, trademarks and designs, facilitating international intellectual property registration and protection.

Why should you turn to lawyers for help in this matter?

Registering intellectual rights to software includes filing an application, preparing the necessary documents, and checking for uniqueness and compliance with international requirements. Legal consulting on intellectual property abroad will significantly simplify the registration process and prevent potential risks. Also, Antwort Law not only helps with the preparation of all necessary documents but also provides initial support in case of disputes.

Lidia Ivanova

International lawyer
Antwort Law

Why is it necessary to register intellectual rights to software abroad, if in many countries copyright arises from the moment the software is created?
Registration provides additional protection against illegal copying (piracy), the possibility of obtaining tax benefits, international property protection and maintains the global presence of your software in the world market.
Which countries have the most developed intellectual property protection system for software?
Countries with a developed system include the UK, USA and EU countries, each of which has its own characteristics and advantages in the field of copyright registration and protection.
What documents are required to register intellectual rights to software?
The required package of documents includes a description of the software, proof of authorship, information about the date of creation and, in some cases, a sample of the software product.
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