Should I Use Copyright Law or Patent Law to Protect My Software?

Throughout the evolution of patent law, case law destroyed the worth of copyright protection. In addition to the statement that copyright defense does not prevent against independent invention, but requires copying, menu edifices have been held to be not competent of copyright protection in a new case involving Lotus and Borland. Still, copyright protection can abide in addition to patent defence. Registration can supply some valuable benefits (e.G., provisions for attorney’s fees and statutory damages) at a cost of probable loss of trade secrets.

It is apparent that software patents are at this time to stay, nonetheless of whether or not programmers wish for them to endure. The U.S. Supreme Court, in its latest Bilski conclusion, did not take the stance that software ought not be qualified of patent protection. If you suffer any doubts, merely go to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website and execute an agent search for any chief software company and you will realize that they possess many software patents. The law and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office practice regarding business methods, where no processor is necessary, is not fullly resolved. There is no questioning that software can be safeguarded by patent law.

Patents supply powerful protection in that they defend in contrast to private invention, and in opposition to reverse engineering. Copyright protection safeguards against copying, but “clean room” practices can be used to circumvent copyright protection. Such a practice involves one team that decompiles software and organizes flowcharts or a type of how the software performs. A separate team, which is not presented access to the code, arranges independent code established on the flowcharts or the explanation. Copyright protection also does not safeguard against private creation.

In reference to whether copyright should be dependent upon instead of patent protection, you should be aware that the courts are sternly restricting the power to make use of copyright law to defend infringement. In addition to the fact that copyright protection does not defend against independent invention, but requires copying, menu structures have been held to be not proficient of copyright defence in a justification involving Lotus and Borland.

Nevertheless, a patent is not contingent upon a protection of independent development. Anyone making, using, or selling a patented computer program is an infringer regardless that they had no realization of the computer program. Whilst asked to examine in contrast, the difference involving copyright and patent protection for his PC spreadsheet program, the inventor of Visi Calc was cited to state “With a patent the only difference would have been several hundred million dollars.”

Ensuring the Successful Implementation of Accounting Software

A lot of businessmen who are searching for accounting software for the first time have the misconception that this application can adapt to any type of business. While it is true that today’s solutions are “smarter” than before, it would be unrealistic to expect perfect results. Some users think that their financial systems will be loaded with sophisticated solutions that handle various types of business process. But the truth is, each product has its own set of features that has been specifically designed for certain industries, business structure, and size.

It is important to look into each of these features to determine if the package is suitable for the organization’s needs or not. After you determine which accounting software is right for your business, the next step would be to ensure successful installation and implementation. Below are some steps that will help ensure its success:

1. Create a technology advisory team – the task of the team is to oversee the entire implementation process. The technology advisory team should be composed of members from all divisions of the company. By getting a representative from each major division, the needs of different parts of the company are considered. However, the number should be limited to five to seven members including a senior manager with the authority to act on its findings.

2. Conduct a needs analysis – every manager from each division should conduct their own analysis of their needs. It should include the various aspects of their operation from the inventory operations to invoicing. The managers should separate the list into “mission-critical” (have a financial impact if the tasks are not done) and those that are not critical (no major impact on business operations).

Using this data, the managers or a technical staff they assign should prepare a flowchart to show the diagram of these tasks. Outlining the step by step process for decision making is important to show the information flow, paperwork, and the decision flow in the organization. The flowchart will reveal how efficient decisions are made and the bottlenecks that delay the system. A detailed flowchart will see how accounting software can handle these tasks.

The managers should gather various sample forms during this process as well (invoices, checks, picking tickets) and every document that is produced by accounting. Supplemental duties such as spreadsheet reports and word-processing files should also be considered. Analyzing all the required forms will enable accounting software selection process become successful.

3. Consider getting an independent consultant – depending on the time and resources available to the business, it may be a good idea to hire an independent consultant who can prepare or evaluate your needs analysis. This will help you make the final decision and minimize the risks that you’ll need to change to another accounting system later on. Before you hire anyone, make sure that the consultant is not connected to any vendor to avoid bias.

4. Talk to the current vendor (if you have an existing software) – unless you’re really unhappy with your existing vendor, presenting your detailed needs analysis to them and getting their opinion is recommended. It will enable you to know whether you need to change vendors or get an upgrade with the existing provider.

Construction Software Topic – Why is a “Round Table Discussion” With Your Staff So Important?

In my over 30 years working Builders and Contractors, one important meeting that needs to take place is what I call “The Round Table” discussion with your staff and managers. I have found these discussions extremely informative for, not only planning process improvement within the organization, but more importantly, an eye opening experience for the managers and “C” level executives.

Here are a couple quick questions to ask yourself when evaluating a round table discussion within your company:

Have you reviewed your processes and procedures within your organization with your staff?
Do you know what your staff job duties are daily weekly and monthly and how they hand off processes to the next staff person?
Do you have a business and technology plan?
When the phone rings, what are the processes to market, sell, build and service the homebuyer/customer?

I have witnessed this round table discussion as a very powerful meeting within a home building company. It allows a builder to flowchart their processes, define the job duties or tasks of everyone within the organization and how each of them communicate with one another to better serve the organization and make the builder a better builder. One suggestion is to take large pieces of paper and put them on the walls around the room. Have each individual department; sales, production, accounting, warranty, etc., put down their duties which they perform as well as suggestions for making their position better. Have them consider the type of verbal and non-verbal communication (e-mails, computer generated tasks, etc.) that would impact their jobs and how, if they were able to have better communication or information, this would reduce the number of hours they spend doing their job and allowing them to pass the information on to the next step in the process.

For example, consider “Auto-Pay”. This is where a purchase order, which is a legal document, informs the trade, sub or supplier how much you are going to pay them for the work to be performed on a house. Now think about the fact if you make this process paperless. You e-mail or post the purchase order document on a web trade portal, the trade, sub or supplier performs the tasks described, the superintendent approves the work or material deliveries via a mobile device, the purchase order is then approved automatically and the data updates the production and accounting systems, all paperless and with little effort on the staff. It just makes sense!

This type of function is available in the technology systems on the market today. They came from meetings just like the round table discussion I mention above. Therefore, as a builder, you are finding ways for your company to operate lean and more efficiently, you make enhancement requests to your technology partners and they develop the software to handle this process for you automatically vs. the number of hours you spend trying to do this manually and with more staff then you really need.

Try the round table discussion for yourself. I truly believe you will be amazed at the number of holes you have in your process that you are just not aware of. Here are some getting started tips:

Schedule this meeting for a half day to start during a day of the week/month that works the best
Purchase the large sticky paper and place around the room and label them by department
Have your staff enter in their job duties and what would make their job easier
Start the discussion with sales and marketing or land development and go through each department till you reach warranty and customer service
Have each person explain their duties and what information they need as well as what information they produce, how they produce it and what they think could improve their job/process
Have someone flowchart each activity
Define the holes in the activities, such as someone having to generate spreadsheets for the next person in the process when this could be replaced with an automated software solution.
Once you have your “hit list”, start working on improving the process
This will also become a shopping list for better technology that adheres to the way you build
Good luck and happy building!