Author’s effort required to protect software

The protection of software by intellectual property law has been debated. The patent was proposed for a time. However, this was eventually rejected in favor of copyright, it reduces as the traditional criterion of originality. The judgment delivered by the First Civil Chamber of the Court of Cassation on October 17, 2012 marks the difference in treatment Did computer program. Still, it goes to show that not all successful software is considered original.

facts of the case

A COD company claimed to be the copyright holder of a management software for the study of judicial officers. It had also made two deposits of the said software with the agency for the security of the programmes. Further, it had granted user license to the AS company for a number of years.

The latter company continued to use the software after the termination of the license agreement. The same was true for a company of judicial officers for whom it provided IT services. Faced with this unauthorized use, the company COD sued the company AS as well as the company of bailiffs for infringement of their software.

Court of Appeal decision

In a decision dated May 11, 2011, the Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal granted the COD’s requests. It acknowledged that the software in question was in fact protected by copyright. he brings “An exclusive solution for managing the studies of judicial officers”, The Court ordered the company AS and the bailiff’s company to jointly and severally pay damages in the amount of 20,000 Euros. It ordered AS to cease all use of the software, remove it from all of its computers, and return any documentation relating to the software to COD.

AS then appealed to the Court of Cassation. He castigated the appellate court for recognizing software protected by copyright for the wrong reasons. In particular the existence of license agreements on software and deposits with the Agency for the Protection of Programs. According to the Court, it was sufficient to demonstrate that the software provided “An exclusive solution for managing the studies of judicial officers”Hence its originality.

cassation court resolution

Fortunately, the appeal was heard by the High Court. The Court of Cassation, in its judgment dated October 17, 2012, censured the trial judges on the ground that they “how the choices made testify to a personal intellectual contribution and a personal effort by the person developing the disputed software, the only ones that give it the character of an original protected work”,

In the context of a computer program, it retains its distinctiveness with respect to other works of the mind, revealing the existence of copyright, as a criterion of originality. We know, since the decisions of the Plenary Assembly of March 7, 1986, that the need in this area has traditionally been low. We should not go so far as to paint an impression of the author’s personality. it only takes one “personal effort going beyond the simple implementation of automatic and constrained logic”,

By this decision of October 17, 2012, the Court of Cassation confirmed that when it comes to recognizing software to be protected by copyright, the requirements are always downward in comparison to other works. But this judgment also demonstrates that the High Court does not intend to go down the general threshold and confer copyright protection on software merely because of its success, in this case as revealed by the various contractual licenses under which the subject matter Is and the filing with the Program Security Agency.

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