QuoteI mean within EU, math models, software, code, ways of doing business cant be patented. Thus, and subject to legalities i may ignore, probably cant be considered as IP i think. There was a milestone court case for software patents in UK a few years ago.Infringement of copyright in softwareIn short, Tradition poached from Cantor of a team of developers who created Cantor's bond futures trading system. Before moving to Trad they installed a modem on a phone line inside Cantor to be able to dial-in and get information from their old employer (if I remember correctly they were mostly interested in checking live Cantor's live prices while they were ready to trade themselves). Also, when they moved, they carried with them copy of the software. In record time they were able to open the desk in Trad backed up by a good brand new pricing system.The result of the court case was that while the individuals were found guilty for copyright infringment, the fines weren't major. Determinant factors were that the developers only used a short size of the code (the expert witness could prove about 2% matches in the code) and they used it mostly to test their new system and price and not to trade directly.The following precedents in software copyright in UK were results of the case:QuoteAn expression of thought in a human language (as, for example, an essay, a novel or a poem) differed from a program for a computer written in a programming language. There was a real risk of error in adapting principles developed in the context of literary works addressed to humans and applying them uncritically to literary works whose only purpose was to make a machine operate in a certain manner. Every part of a computer program might be essential to its performance, but it was simplistic to regard every part, however small, as a "substantial part" of the program QuoteA copyist infringed if he appropriated a part of the work upon which a substantial part of the author's skill and labour was expended. The maxim "what is worth copying is worth protecting" was open to the criticism that it proved too muchQuoteA substantial part of the author's skill and labour might reside in the plot of novel or play, and to take that plot without taking any part of the particular manner of its expression might be sufficient to amount to copyright infringement.The "architecture" of a computer program was analogous to a plot and was capable of protection if a substantial part of the programmer's skill, labour and judgment had gone into it But then the interesting part was that there wasn't enough copying so :QuoteIt was unlikely, although no impossible, that the skill and labour involved in making such a choice could ever amount to a substantial part of the copyright subsisting in the various modules (para 78.). and QuoteThe issue was whether the code that had been copied represented a substantial part of the copyright work relied on. The criterion was whether it represented a substantial part of the skill and labour expended by the writer. The substantiality of what had been taken had to be judged against the collection of modules viewed as a whole. It was not determined by whether the system would work without the code, or by the amount of use the system made of the code. So I think that even if in general people aren't allowed to export their work from a company to another, the fine that will be decided by the court is open to a number of factors, the most important of which is whether the copy amounts to a part that extended enough to carry identifying characteristics of the original system.From a pragmatical point of view, it's better to be lawful and not export old code to new working environments. But if you are going to work for a company who is highly litigious, with enough money to stand a major court case, and where the expected loss from the lawsuit is less than the expected gain to bring competitors to their knees, then it may be worth to ignore all moral codes and check if there is some informal understanding from the new company that they will be "helping" out.Am I immoral? maybe... but from my experience in the City nobody, starting from the FSA really cares about fair markets. And as a lawyer hater, I think that the only point of laws is to help criminals and restrict the good guys, so I am starting to get really annoyed about all the cheap moralism we have in the City.
Last edited by gc
on April 23rd, 2008, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.