Computer Software and Hardware

At Fitch, Even, Tabin & Flannery LLP, our counseling of computer sector clients often takes an integrated approach that breaks the barriers between hardware and software. Much of our intellectual property work involving computers and computerized systems focuses on patenting highly robust computer-dependent systems of hardware and software. The ability of our lawyers to legally define the complex computer algorithms and structures involved in such systems is central to ensuring the patentability of the core business advantages that these systems represent.

The interrelationship between computer hardware and software is also reflected in our infringement litigation philosophy and strategy, as Fitch Even is frequently retained to enforce and defend against patent rights involving these technologies. Our pioneering victory 20 years ago in Arrhythmia Research Technology, Inc. v. Corazonix Corp. helped open the door to the use of patents for protecting software inventions, when the Federal Circuit recognized the patentability that we established for a software-based mathematical method to monitor a patient's heart.

Since then, our lawyers have successfully managed broad software patent enforcement litigation in the security system, electronic software distribution, transaction processing, computer networking, banking and financial, and social media industries. For example, in recent cases pursued in the Northern District of Illinois federal court, we successfully enforced our Illinois-based client’s patents on automatic computer configuration repair against computer disk utility applications found on most personal computers, resulting in the licensing of dozens of leading hardware and software application providers.

Because effective software applications are central to the functioning of computer hardware and peripherals, Fitch Even lawyers frequently provide computer makers with software due diligence audits for the hardware and software they intend to make, use, or sell. This is especially important in hardware and software systems that employ open-source software, which holds many traps for those who do not understand the unique open-source licensing terms and how they may affect their own software. We regularly structure software licensing agreements to ensure that computer hardware and software companies are fully protected in making, using, and selling the software applications on which they rely.

For software developers, our lawyers are skilled at using patents (including business method patents), copyrights, and trade secret agreements to protect software applications involving networking software, system and application software, user interfaces, data compression and encryption software and hardware, artificial intelligence, multimedia software, databases and database-backed systems, application management software, and many others. We also have experience drafting a variety of software development, distribution, testing, sale and license agreements, as well as source code escrow agreements, reflecting our in-depth knowledge of contract law in this area. Such capabilities illustrate our comprehensive strengths to facilitate the intersection of computer hardware and software.

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