Software and databases

Software is an oeuvre de l’esprit or “work of the mind” governed by Article L.112-2 of the French Code of Intellectual Property and as such is afforded the protection of droit d’auteur or copyright. Databases being the result of original choices in the selection, presentation and classification of information are also acknowledged as creations potentially afforded the protection of Article L.112-3.

By waiver to the rules that apply to other “works of the mind”, the French Code of Intellectual Property, except when otherwise stipulated, acknowledges that the employer has ownership of the software and documentation created by its employees when working in accordance with their contractual obligations and under employer’s instructions. The same rules apply to agents of the State and local government and equivalent organisations.

Otherwise, rights and entitlements to software remain vested in their authors and creators including (according to the provisions of Article L.111-1) when they are the subject-matter of purchase order issued with force of contract by a business organization.

Advice and assistance is therefore essential when seeking to determine and effectively protect rights to software and databases, and identify the precautions required prior to any disclosure, including suitable clauses in contracts of employment, business development contracts and contracts for the disposal of assets, concessions and asset conveyance.

The use of software and of its eventual copies, modifications or after maintenance is covered by specific rules, the scope of which is mainly governed by the relevant contractual parties, in the light of their objectives and the advice they have received.

Intangible assets importantly require assessment and valuation under audits to which specialist lawyers make their contribution.

Finally, numerous disputes and lawsuits arise in the area of acts of patent infringement and the legal and financial remedies available.
LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL GAULTIER lawyers are fully familiar with these issues and able to advise in instances of gathering evidence of infringements, and to defend claims lodged before the lower and appeal courts.

In areas where know-how and business secrecy are at issue, mediation reliant on the fundamental rules of confidentiality may be a means of rapid and effective resolution of conflict, as recommended in certain cases by LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL GAULTIER, who have at their disposal the specific skills acquired as a result of their relationship with CMAP, the Centre for Mediation and Arbitration of Paris.

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