Legal Essentials for Software Developers

As a software developer, your products are distributed to the masses for a wide range of hardware. It is important to safeguard your hard work from falling into the wrong hands or to unexpected competition. Additionally, it is a good idea to minimize your liability in the event of malfunction. Elliott & Davis’ skilled cyberlaw attorneys have the legal and technical experience you need to protect the intellectual property rights associated with your software. We can work with you to personalize and draft important documentation to limit your liability including End User License Agreements (EULAs), clickwrap, and shrinkwrap agreements that your users will see upon installation. Depending on your personal needs and to aid in additional reduction of liability, Elliott and Davis also offers IP registration and business incorporation services for your software company.

The Following is a List of the Software-specific Services we Provide:

  • END USER LICENSE AGREEMENTS (EULAs)

An End User License Agreement (or a EULA) is a contract between you and your customers when they purchase and use your software. These agreements generally are in digital form and pop up before your customers use or install your software for the first time. A customer will usually click “I Agree” after reading a EULA to continue through to the installation.

A EULA gives your customer the permission (or a license) to use your software, states particular rules for using your software (including IP regulations), and also limits your liability for the damaged caused in the event of a malfunction. Due to the large amount of important information contained within this contract, a EULA is a crucial legal component to any piece of software.

At Elliott & Davis, PC we will get to know your software and draft a EULA that is custom-fit to the functionality it provides. Our professional drafting services, unlike other pay-and-use models, will make sure your specific needs are addressed and your legal questions are answered.

  • CLICKWRAP AGREEMENTS

Clickwrap agreements, like EULAs, are contracts between you and your customers when they purchase or use your services. Unlike EULAs, clickwrap agreements are generally presented within the confines of a website. When a user goes to use a web-based service, a clickwrap agreement will pop up before entering the requested page. A user will usually click “I Agree” after reading a clickwrap agreement to acknowledge that they have read the contract.

Like a EULA, a clickwrap agreement gives your visitors the permission (or a license) to use your online services, states particular rules for using your online services (including IP regulations), and also limits your liability for the damaged caused in the event of a malfunction. Due to the large amount of important information contained within this type of contract, a clickwrap agreement is a crucial legal component to any web based service. 

At Elliott & Davis, PC, our cyberlawyers will get to know your online services and draft a clickwrap agreement that is custom-fitted to your website. Our professional drafting services, unlike other pay-and-use models, will make sure your specific needs are addressed and your legal questions are answered.

  • SHRINKWRAP AGREEMENTS

Shrinkwrap Agreements, like EULAs and Clickwrap agreements, are contracts between you and your customers when they purchase or use your software. Unlike EULAs or Clickwrap Agreements, Shrinkwrap Agreements are printed contracts that exist beneath the plastic packaging of a CD or other device. Your customers can view and read this Shrinkwrap Agreement through the packaging, and (upon agreeing to the terms you have set forth) agree to the conditions of that contract by opening the plastic wrapper.

A shrinkwrap agreement gives your customers the permission (or a license) to use your software, states particular rules for using your software (including IP regulations), and also limits your liability for the damaged caused in the event of a malfunction. Due to the large amount of important information contained within this type of contract, a shrinkwrap agreement is a helpful tool during software distribution. While this type of agreement is not as heavily used (in lieu of other, electronic means), it is still a valid contract format that may be applied to your software. Our cyberlaw experts can meet with you to decide if a shrinkwrap agreement is right for you.

  • INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY SERVICES
Intellectual property (or “IP”) is the term that describes the different legal rights that correspond to the intangible assets you create and own. Copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets are the major categories of IP that exist today.
Of the major types of IP, Copyright and Trademarks exist most prominently on the internet and are strictly enforced by state and federal law. Elliott & Davis, PC offers a variety of intellectual property services to help protect and regulate the IP featured on your website. These include:
Copyright
        • Registration
        • Enforcement
        • Licensing
        • Compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

Trademarks

        • Registration
        • Enforcement
        • Licensing

If you have general questions about IP rights please visit our FAQ, or our Trademarks website at http://www.trademarksmadesimple.com

  • INCORPORATIONS

As a software developer who creates a number of programs, it is good legal strategy to create a business entity. Incorporating your software development business will give you many advantages including:

          • Limited liability
          • Reduced tax exposure
          • Increased Credibility
          • Perpetual Existence
Elliott & Davis, PC  can work with you to determine what type of an entity your business needs, register your business with Pennsylvania, and draft the important documents that correspond to your business structure.
Whether you’re a Pennsylvania company or out-of-state company looking to incorporate in Pennsylvania, our skilled attorneys can help. Please visit www.incorporateinpa.com for more information or contact Attorney Eric Davis at 412.434.4911 ext 11 or at eric@elliott-davis.com for a free consultation.

 

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Contact Us

412.434.4911

contact@elliott-davis.com

425 First Avenue, First Floor Pittsburgh, PA 15219

The Hartley Rose Building