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Practical Intellectual Property Concepts for Software Developers

  • Nov 14, 2013 · 6:30 PM

Please join us for an insightful discussion on intellectual property, led by DC ACM Treasurer Robert Downs. The event, designed for software developers, inventors, and software team managers, will be held at the 1776 co-working space in downtown DC.

Modern software developers creating products with Internet presence inevitably have to consider intellectual property issues. For one, intellectual property, especially patents, can add value to your product and may be what sets your product apart in the view of potential funding. In addition, open source has moved out of the labs and into mainstream computing as part of a business strategy. More and more products and services use open source software or establish an open source counterpart.

However, in a way intellectual property is like insurance products. They are something that you may need in the future, but at the moment may seem expensive and/or confusing. Also, just as it is not a good idea to go to a doctor without any idea what might be wrong with your health, and just take their word, it is not good to go to any attorney and have them do whatever they tell you with regard to patents, copyright, open source. Instead, you as the one in control or owner should understand the product or service you are receiving.

As a software engineer with over twenty years of experience in handling intellectual property issues in software, Robert will help you as a fellow software developer to understand basic principles of patent, copyright and open source, using Java code as examples. You will leave with the realization that a patent is simply a description of your program to the extent that a person in the field of software engineering or computer science could make your invention. Some have said that open source does a better job of teaching others than the patent system itself. That is a choice you can make.

This talk is delivered to inspire those that develop software to understand basic principles of patent, copyright, and open source in order to take an active role in improving the quality of intellectual property in this fast moving area.

Robert Downs is a patent agent and a graduate of Virginia Tech in computer science. Robert has been associated with the software development industry for about 30 years.

Oh, and in honor of my fellow colleagues on the Virginia Tech swim team, there will be beer and pizza at this event!

The event will be held at the downtown DC co-working space, 1776, in the boardroom. Pizza and beer will be served at 6:30pm and the discussion will begin at 7pm.

Join or login to comment.

  • Mo

    This is interesting. I am an electrical engineer and former patent examiner. The USPTO states that software alone (ie code) can not be patented. However, software processes (ie methods) can. It can be tricky and I have research dozens of business methods that involve software as a patent researcher.

    November 13, 2013

    • Amar Z.

      Both copyright and patents now impact the professional work of software developers, so the matters both come up in the field. Hope you can join us for the event and share your experiences.

      November 14, 2013

  • Michael

    … not going to make it tonite. Enjoy.

    November 14, 2013

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