Computer Hardware and Software

Perhaps no industry embodies the “Intellectual Property Age” the world had entered more than the ever-expanding population of inventors, manufacturers, system integrators, consultants, and others in computer technology.  Moreover, computing at both the enterprise and desktop levels has become so ubiquitous and has so permeated both our personal lives and the operations of businesses and institutions, that this technology overlaps every field of intellectual property.

Our experience matches this permeation.  Virtually every industry and business activity we service uses computing in their IP development and management, and some involve the direct creation of advances in computing equipment, the creation of software, and the design of web processes and interfaces.  Many businesses and institutions are migrating their operations to the Web in business-to-business and business-to-consumer methods.  Many are constantly creating new software themselves, and many are constantly requiring the services of designers, system integrators, and consultants.  These activities present a full array of needs for patent prosecution, joint development, assignment, license, and other contract relationships, as well as a plethora of litigation matters.

The need for developer and consultant contracting sometimes creates critical difficulties.  Due to the “black box” nature of computer technology and the fact that many consumers of it depend on others for guidance, contracts and other arrangements in this area can have a tendency to be poorly-defined, with inadequate specification of concrete “deliverables,” resulting in project failures and disputes.  Our lawyers are especially proactive in this area to ensure that the objectives of all parties in these arrangements are clearly defined and attained.

Our specific experience includes equipment inventions, software source code development, assistance with algorithms used in software, new and novel methods for profitable use, and all types of arrangements for creating, protecting, and commercializing these technologies.  Whether it be the inner workings of computers (hard drives, laser diodes, optical arrays) or the actual written code that directs computers to function as needed, our attorneys have handled numerous patent and copyright applications, development agreements, and assignment or license transactions for such matters.  We have prosecuted patent applications for such inventions as digital and analog circuitry, computer architecture, network communications equipment, and software products.  We routinely counsel clients on validity and potential infringement of technology patents.  One of our team members came to us from IBM Global Services, and another concurrently serves our own Firm as its partner in charge of technology.  We are able to especially relate to our clients’ technology needs and issues.

In the litigation and dispute resolution arena, computer hardware and software have been the subject of numerous trade secret, confidentiality agreement breach, non-compete violation, and similar matters we have handled.  With so many businesses and institutions employing personnel and consultants who possess software and other computer IP, and with those assets so easily moveable over the Internet and on storage media like optical disks and “thumb drives,” disputes over possession and ownership, as well as authorship, are currently rampant in the legal system.  Our strong commitment to litigation-avoidance strategies for clients means that our trial lawyers routinely team up with our transactional professionals to implement systems to prevent unauthorized use of technology assets.  We also regularly counsel clients on policies and procedures, accessing our Labor & Employment colleagues where appropriate, in the areas of computer privacy and inappropriate use.