I will commence this article with a bold statement: A law firm cannot effectively represent software developers unless its attorneys have two skill sets: (1) the requisite IP/Patent/litigation background and (2) the ability to actually read and write code.
There are law firms, particularly in Austin, which can easily comport with our first suggested requirement. However, they often lack “hands on” knowledge of the coding itself which is critical to understanding and protecting the source code and software design. Lawyers that understand coding and software is of paramount importance.
The Moster Craft law firm established its Turing Technology Group to provide the suite of legal skills and background which our software clients need most. We are capable of drilling down to the specific functioning of the code, so we better understand its function, utility, and how best to perfect the IP from theft and misappropriation.
Our legal services are tailored to effectuating the business objective of our clients. Typically, the software development is in its embryonic stage and requires specific legal attention to prevent the potential loss or misappropriation by developers and independent contractors. We work with our clients to bolster existing contracts to better safeguard the security and confidentiality of the code in progress. Of particular merit is our extensive knowledge and application of a relatively recent Texas statute designed to offer specialized protection of IP – the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act or TUTSA (for short).
Our Firm obtained one of the first statutory injunctions under TUTSA which allows for its issuance in the event of a “threatened” versus actual misappropriation. You heard that correctly – “threatened” only, which is an easy threshold to meet. This protection is available upon the rapid filing the necessary litigation in Texas State Court and can also be achieved through the use of the requisite contract language in employee and independent contractor agreements which we always recommend.
The protection of computer software, therefore, requires the proper contractual predicate to tie up employees, independent contractors, or anyone who sees or touches the code. The choice of contractual language is critical as it will facilitate the immediate issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) by mandating an employee and/or contractors’ acquiescence to key elements of proof, i.e., the inadequacy of the legal remedy (need for an injunction versus only damages), and the irreparable nature of the injury. We routinely advise on the most effective contractual language to employ in these situations which incorporates the enforcement mechanisms available under TUTSA. Our knowledge of Texas non-compete clauses and case law which allows for its enforcement via injunctions without proof of the typical legal elements, is also invaluable. We have it down.
Apart from exceedingly intelligent contractual advice, our clients need tough, experienced, and versatile litigation attorneys able to run to court on a moment’s notice to obtain a court order or injunction. Misappropriation is like a cancer which rapidly spreads and destroys the life blood of a business – its IP. You can count on our patent law attorneys to respond rapidly and decisively. We don’t write memos to the file!
We also advise our clients on the patent and copyright protection necessary to protect their code whether it is the filing of a provisional patent, utility patent, copyright of the code, or a combination thereof. Every situation requires a nuanced approach tailored to safeguard against the risk of theft and loss of the product to an unscrupulous employee, contractor, or malevolent competitor.
Finally, our staff in addition to professional careers as IP lawyers, electrical engineers, and software developers, have a comprehensive knowledge of the underlying business model. Unlike many firms which has discrete and linear experience, we can integrate our knowledge of the marketplace to better advise our clients on how to accomplish their financial objectives. This is an invaluable add-on which our clients recognize and appreciate.
I will end this IP discussion with reference to the high-tech news magazine produced by Moster Craft – Future 2050 and the myriad of detailed articles on the future of computer technology with an emphasis on the advent of quantum and biological computers. My recent major work, Future2050 – 12 Visions of the Time Ahead – is highly recommended.
Please give us a call. We look forward to discussing