All applications are software programs based on an operating system designed to run on smart phones and accessible through the application distribution platforms that are typically operated by owners ofsmart phone operating systems.
Developers create applications, which run on smart phone platforms and exhibit newshades in resolution, style, size, technology and user interface for each smart phone.
Authors of such applications rely on source code ‘open’ to all for usage and development of smart phone applications. The open source code is governed by a license agreement, which retains protection under copyright in the name of source code provider and simultaneously allows developers to use and add own source code and distribute the final product. Such applications are not recognized as original work and thus cannot be registered. Instead the developer is required to provide public access to the open source code along with the copy of the open source license agreement with distribution of the new product. In case of any violation or infringement regarding the license for source code, the application will be removed immediately from the distribution platform and such developer shall be liable under the law.
Everysmart phone application is initially tested as a beta version before being promoted online and then downloaded by the user on his/her smart phone and used by the user through their smart phones. During promotions, the “name” of the smart phone application is used more than the “logo”; and during the download process, the smart phone application is mentioned with both, “name” and “logo”. Once the smart phone application is downloaded on to a user’s device it appears more as an icon, which is nothing more than a “logo”. Hence, the “name” and “logo” becomes equally important to be protected by a trademark. Therefore, it is suggested that one must seek protection for the “name” and “logo” individually. However, it is advisable to talk to an expert to identify your usage and marketing pattern in order to determine a specific trademark protection strategy for you.
The Patent Act, 1970 also offers protection for a useful novel product or a process. Computer programs cannot be patented per se, unless the program forms an integral part of the innovative invention and does not fall within the ambits of the non – patentable matter as specified u/s 3 and 4 of the Patent Act. The fundamental requisition for patent is novelty without compromise on the scope of invention.
Since the advent of Smart Phone Commerce (M-Commerce) Industry, potential developers have created various lucrative applications and software suitable for consumers for a convenient lifestyle. The smart phone application developers have witnessed financial success for creation of savvy products but due to ignorance of legal enforcement, the value of such product or process is tarnished.
Smart phone applications grant an array of platforms for innovators to exhibit their intangible creation into a tangible medium. An intellectual property specialist can provide bona-fide legal guidance beneficial towards the protection of novel inventions and management of such intellectual inventions to achieve maximum exposure and optimum success.
Mayank Singh Raghuvanshi
The Indian Lawyer and Allied Services, New Delhi