When a software engineer writes code for someone else, it may be that she does not want the user to know the inner workings of the product, thus it will be distributed in object code (machine readable only). Similarly, the business contracting for a software application may want to keep its operation confidential from those outside of the business. Those developing or using the applications would consider such software as proprietary and it would come under a license that would emphasize its confidential nature.
However, when creating proprietary software, the developer must be certain that all of the software in the program is either original to that developer or she has permission to use it which does not limit the subsequent use or distribution of it. If, in the process of writing code, a developer incorporates some “open source” software into the application, the whole program may be subject to the same licensing requirements under which that open source code was originally released.
Press, Dozier & Hamelburg counsels individuals and businesses in all aspects of software licensing from initial application to assigning their rights and resolving disputes. We represent clients on intellectual property law throughout Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and across the United States.