Copyright Infringement and Unauthorized Use

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DisputeSoft possesses extensive experience in matters concerning claims of software copyright infringement.  Our services dramatically reduce the cost and burden of conducting a copyright infringement analysis, and our wide-ranging expertise allows us to assist counsel through each step of the litigation process.

Assessing the Validity of the Copyright Registration

In order to register a computer program for copyright, the author must submit a representative portion of the program source code as part of the registration application.  DisputeSoft can examine this “deposit copy” to determine whether the code is a bona fide copy of the registered work or whether the code contains modifications made after the work’s date of creation.  Failure to provide an actual copy of the software source code as it existed at the time of its creation would render the copyright registration invalid and, therefore, unenforceable in a copyright infringement lawsuit.  DisputeSoft’s techniques for determining the validity of a copyright registration have been published in IP Today and have been discussed by the Eleventh Circuit.

Investigating Claims of Literal Copying

In copyright infringement cases in which the plaintiff alleges that the defendant has copied the source code of the copyrighted work, an expert is needed to compare the source code of the allegedly infringing program to the source code of the copyrighted program.   As programs typically contain thousands of lines of code, such a source code comparison can be a daunting task.  However, DisputeSoft has developed proprietary software tools that we regularly employ to significantly streamline this analysis, allowing for efficient and effective comparisons of programs of any size.

Investigating Claims of Non-Literal Copying

In addition to claims that the source code itself has been copied, the plaintiff may also claim that the “non-literal” elements of its copyrighted program have been copied, such as its overall structure, sequence and organization.  In such cases, DisputeSoft can conduct an “abstraction-filtration-comparison” (AFC) test to analyze the degree of similarity between software elements other than actual source code.  The AFC test requires first identifying various levels of abstraction from the source code that would still qualify as copyrightable expression, filtering each level of abstraction to remove any content that is not deemed copyrightable, and finally comparing the remaining expressive content in each program to determine whether it is substantially similar.

Assessing Clean-Room Design Methodology

DisputeSoft has extensive experience in matters involving clean-room design, a methodology used to avoid copyright or trade secret infringement when developing a new software product with knowledge of prior intellectual property, which is sometimes used as a defense against copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation in litigation. By analyzing source code and project documentation, our experts can assess whether a party properly employed clean-room design practices while developing a product. Our findings may help to determine whether the use of a clean room could be an effective defense against claims of copyright infringement.


If you are in need of a software copyright infringement expert, we invite you to consider DisputeSoft.

Read about DisputeSoft’s software copyright infringement cases…
Read about DisputeSoft’s software copyright infringement experts Jeff Parmet, Josh Siegel, and Nick Ferrara