I recently wrote an article on offshore product development titled-"The Invisible Wave", pointing to increasing business of outsourced software product development. Infoworld has an article on IP theft and the difficulty in bringing in justice when such a thing happens. As usual, the information has been selectively used by a few to spread the word of danger against alleged IP theft in countries like India and its consequences. While the issue is a serious one - I was a little intrigued when I saw reference made to event that had allegedly happened years back and so much more work is getting outsourced and all indications points to more growth in outsourced business.
As the CIO magazine noted even in this case, "Indian prosecutors (in the SolidWorks case) appear to have decided to charge the suspect in part to establish firmer support for IP rights. India does not have laws against trade theft, so prosecutors filed charges against Verma under a general civil theft law, with a secondary charge of criminal breach of trust against his employer, GSSL. Another charge, pertaining to copyright law under India's recently enacted IT Act, was added later".Solidworks and GSSL continue to work together even as of now with more security put in place.The Indian government is already working to change its traditional reputation of being guarded and difficult to work with, but clealry much more may need to be done.
I referred Nishith Desai's views and actually come to think of it, with international treaties such as the Berne Convention, the Paris Convention and TRIPs, the seeming gap between IP laws of developing and developed countries are getting bridged. Today, multilevel protection to software is made availbale through patent, copyright and trade secrets. Trips provides for computer program be protected under copyright as a literary work. There is no global agreement in TRIPs regarding patent protection. Recognizing the limitation of the fact that copyright accords limited protection, more and more countries are according patent protection to the software. Different nations have different standards for criteria of patentability. India too is moving in that direction of providing patent protection for CP. In the EU software as such is not patentable and Indian law mostly follows EU law and Indian law says CP ‘per se’ is not patentable, but perhaps CP with unique technical flavour may be deemed patentable. Western companieds meed to realise that Indian vendors, typically have IP assignment and confidentiality agreements with their employees.There could be civil as well as criminal action against the employees who breach such obligations.
Category:Emerging Trends, IP Theft