Copyright, Trade Secrecy, and Patents as they relate to Software

Define copyright, trade secrecy, and patents as they relate to software.


Copyright is a method of protection conceded by law for original works of authorship including artistic, musical, dramatic and literary works. This form of protection is usually set in a palpable medium of expression and it covers both published and unpublished works. Through copyright, the government provides authors wit certain rights and privileges (Quinn, 2013). Although copyright does not offer protection of ideas, systems, facts, or methods of operation, it does protect the way such things can be expressed.

Trade Secrets:

A trade Secret is any confidential commercial information or intellectual property, including ideas, creations, or data compilations, that is perceived valuable and gives a business a competitive advantage over its rivals who do not have access to the information (Quinn, 2013). In general terms trade secrets include that are used by business to make it more successful.


A patent is a legal document issued by the government. It protects a party’s intellectual property rights in an invention. The invention must be unique and original, and not previously disclosed to the public. A person receives a patent by applying with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO. Patents are only issued for inventions or improvements to a tangible and functional object.

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