Tag Archives: Intellectual property

Answers to PuneTech’s “Do you understand copyrights and patents?” quiz

Last year, we had run a quiz on copyrights and patents, consisting of a number of day-to-day examples where copyright or patent issues were involved. These were examples of the kind that an average PuneTech reader might run into. Interestingly, a very large fraction of those who took the quiz, got lots of answers wrong. The quiz was a big hit amongst our readers.

Unfortunately, we overlooked posting the results of the quiz.

Better late than never.

Here are the results. Before reading the answers, you might want to refresh your memory of the questions. Note: the questions and answers for part 1 have been composed by me (that is, Navin Kabra). The questions in part 2 were composed by Hemant Chaskar,

Answers to Part 1: Copyrights

Take a closer look at copyright and patent issues. Take the quiz and then see these answers. (Image credit: Control copyright icon by Xander, via mediawiki commons)
Take a closer look at copyright and patent issues. Take the quiz and then see these answers. (Image credit: Control copyright icon by Xander, via wikimedia commons)

Question: Unmesh has a great idea for an online flash game where the user is supposed to identify and shoot traffic violators. He describes the idea in great detail in an email to Navin. The email includes overall architecture, algorithms and data-structures etc. Navin loves the idea, and next day, implements the idea in python+django and puts it up on http://ShootTheTrafficViolators.com. Surprisingly, the game is a huge hit. One year later, Zapak buys the game from Navin for a large sum of money (one khoka). Navin has no intention of sharing his khoka with Unmesh. There was no agreement, neither explicit nor implicit, between Navin & Unmesh regarding the intellectual property. Legally, which of these are true? (Assume that the email between Unmesh and Navin is enough to legally prove that Navin got the idea from Unmesh.)

Answer: There’s nothing Unmesh can do. Ideas cannot be copyrighted. Zapak bought the copyrights, and those are owned by Navin since he wrote the code. (Unmesh would have a case if he had patented any idea in that game, but really, there is nothing patentable about shooting traffic violators 🙂

56% of respondents got this wrong and felt that Unmesh can claim some money from either Navin or Zapak.

Question: Unmesh has another great idea – a map-based online dating service. He describes his idea in a blog post, and also attaches a zip file with the php code for the game. An year later, Navin notices this blog post, downloads the software, makes some changes, and puts it up on http://AatiKyaKhandala.com. Needless to say, BharatMatrimony is interested and pays Navin 1 khoka for the game. Which of the following is true. (As before, no agreement between Navin & Unmesh. Also, Unmesh did not attach a copyright notice in the code; nor did he register a copyright.)

Answer: Making code public does not change the fact that Unmesh owns the copyright to the code. The fact that Unmesh neither attached a copyright notice, nor did he register the copyright is irrelevant. Copyright notices and registrations are not necessary. Unmesh is legally the owner. Note also, that Navin can rewrite the program to do the same thing but using different code wrote and Unmesh would have no intellectual property claims on the new program Navin wrote.

Lot of ignorance here. A whopping 45% of the respondents felt that Unmesh had no claim on the code because he did not attach a copyright notice, and 34% felt that he had no claim because he made the code public.

Question: Navin is now a very successful and rich entrepreneur, based on the previous two exits. He now pays Unmesh to develop a new website for him – http://PhirangiMaal.com – to identify the best foreign goods available in Pune. Unmesh writes the code and in the process develops a very innovative new algorithm for automatically identifying good phirangi maal. Needless to say, this algorithm and site is a great success. eBay.in is interested. Which of the following are true. This time there was an agreement between Navin and Unmesh saying that Unmesh is developing PhirangiMaal.com for Navin for a given sum of money. Unfortunately, the agreement doesn’t say who owns the intellectual property.

Answer: In the absence of an explicit agreement, Navin owns the intellectual property because this was work done for hire. Interestingly, most people got this one right.

Question: Unmesh wrote a great program – a mobile application that can cause a mobile phone to self-destruct when it is taken outside the borders of Maharashtra. Unfortunately, he did not show the program to anybody, he did not register a copyright on it, and he did not make it public. One day, Navin happened to get access to Unmesh’s laptop, copied the program and later sold it to Raj Thakarey. Does Unmesh own the copyright on this program?

Answer: Yes, Unmesh owns the copyright. Copyright registration, copyright notice, and making public have no effect on copyright ownership. As soon as a creative work is created, the author gets the copyright. While Unmesh might have a tough time proving that Navin stole the code from him (and that is the reason why copyright registration has value), legally the ownership is clearly with Unmesh.

57% of respondents got this one wrong (most of them thinking that copyright registration is necessary).

Question: To increase traffic to his site Unmesh wants to put up a collage of beautiful/handsome people at the top of his homepage. He downloads a bunch of images from images.google.com, crops them appropriately, and creates a collage, and puts it up. Unfortunately, one of the images belongs to Reuters, who sues Unmesh for $2000 (for just that one image).

Answer: Most people got this correct. Downloading images off the web and using them on your website is a copyright violation, and the above has actually happened to a Pune startup (no, not Unmesh!!). It is worthwhile to note that you are legally liable even if you outsourced the website development to some other small company, and their designer was the one who downloaded the image and used it without checking the copyright notice.

Question: Rohit11 decides to manufacture a home security system, which is a hardware box that can be installed on people’s doors. The device runs software that is derived from the Linux OS. Since he has a large heart, Rohit11 gives this device away for free for everyone in Pune. Is he required to release the software (since Linux is GPLed)?

Answer: The correct answer is that the software must be released. It can be put up on a website – shipping with the device is not a requirement. However, shipping a 400-page book is not good enough. The software must be in machine readable form.

Question: Unmesh decides to open-source the code that runs SadakMap.com (under GPL). Navin takes that code, makes extensive changes to it to allow people to interact with the maps using SMS. He then uses the code to create http://SMSMaps.in. Now Unmesh wants to add the same facilities to sadakmap. Can Unmesh force Navin to open-source SMSMaps.in?

Answer: No! Since Navin has not “distributed” the code to anybody else, he is not forced to give out his source code by the GPL. The new Affero GPL covers this case, but a regular GPL does not. 51% got this wrong.

Question: Navin keeps taking content from Unmesh’s blog (http://sadakmap.com/blog) and republishing it on PuneTech – sometimes excerpts, sometimes full – sometimes with attribution, sometimes without. All of this is done without Unmesh’s permission. Which of the following are copyright violations:

Question: Publishing excerpts (e.g. a few lines from first paragraph), with a link to the original post

Answer: This is not a copyright violation. This is allowed under fair use (also known as fair dealing). Most people got this right.

Question: Publishing excerpts, with attribution to SadakMap, but not a link

Answer: This is legally not a violation of copyright law. But is a bad practice and is frowned upon, so you should avoid it.

Question: Publishing full article, with full attribution of source and a link to original

Answer: This is a copyright violation. Publishing a full article is not legal, irrespective of whether you link/attribute the source. 50% of respondents got this wrong.

Question: Re-use of just one image from a post, with attribution + link

Answer: This is a copyright violation. Unlike short excerpts of text (which are OK to copy), copying images, or even short excerpts of music are usually violations. Only 40% of respondents got this correct.

Question: Reuse of 20 seconds of a sound-clip from a post, with attribution+link

Answer: This is a copyright violation. You’re not allowed to copy even short clips of music. Only 29% got this right.

Question: Copying the SadakMap Logo

Answer: Thankfully, most people got this right. Copying the logo is a copyright violation except for a few exceptions (like satire, or new reporting, etc.)

Answers to Part 2: Patents

Question: Unmesh has a great idea for an online flash game where the user is supposed to identify and shoot traffic violators. He describes the idea in great detail in an email to Navin. The email includes overall architecture, algorithms and data-structures etc. But before that Unmesh files a patent on it. Navin loves the idea, and next day, implements the idea in python+django and puts it up on http://ShootTheTrafficViolators.com. Surprisingly, the game is a huge hit. One year later, Zapak buys the game from Navin for a large sum of money (one khoka). At this point, Unmesh’s patent is granted. There was no agreement, neither explicit nor implicit, between Navin & Unmesh regarding the intellectual property. Legally, which of these are true? (Note: this question is slightly different from the first question in the copyright section)

Answer: Unmesh owns the patent and hence he can legally stop Zapak from selling the game, he can legally claim money and/or royalties from Zapak or Navin. Most people got this one right.

Question: Navin works for reputed IT firm as high performance database architect. While on a trekking trip with his friends on Sunday, he conceives an idea of a new trekking shoe. Next Sunday he takes help of his friend Hemant who has knowhow of patents to file a patent on his new shoe. Later Navin leaves the IT job and toils to finally productize his shoe. Around the same time Navin’s patent on the shoe also gets granted. Few days after that the IT firm where Navin worked before becomes aware of popularity of the new trekking shoe and Navin’s patent on it. The IT firm asks Navin to transfer his patent rights on the shoe design to the IT firm.

Answer: The real answer is that it depends upon the employment contract that Navin has with the IT firm. In most of the large companies that I know of (also known as reputed IT companies), the employment contract states that all ideas that the employees get while they are employed belong to the company.

People often feel that work done in personal time, work unrelated to company business etc. are exempt, but it is not. Often entrepreneurs develop ideas while being employed before breaking up, but do not realize that they are at risk of assertion of employment agreement.

Startup founders get into trouble like this very often.

Question: Navin is settled in U.S. He comes up with an idea for software module which runs on standard PCs to increase the speed of execution. Navin files a patent on it in U.S. and gets the patent. Hemant lives in India and gets to read Navin’s patent as patent documents are publicly available on the Internet. Hemant assembles a team of programmers in India to build the software module described in Navin’s patent. Hemant then sells it to Indian PC distributors who then install it on PCs sold in India.

Answer: There is nothing Navin can do. US patents do not afford any protection against companies copying and selling the product in India. Many people got this wrong – 37% felt that Navin can take legal help in India to stop Hemant, and 33% felt that Navin can take legal help in the US to stop Hemant. Both answers are incorrect.

Question: Unmesh decides to open-source the code that runs SadakMap.com. Navin uses that code to create http://SMSMaps.in. While looking at the SadakMap code, and searching the online patent database, Navin realizes that Unmesh has a patent on a unique new algorithm of allowing users to add content to a online map – and this algorithm is at the heart of the SadakMap code. Navin realizes a unique new way to design a wrapper around the SadakMap code to allow users to add content via SMS. Navin files a patent on this idea, and the patent is granted.

Answer: Unmesh can still stop Navin from running SMSMaps.in because it is still infringing on Unmesh’s patent. The fact that Navin has his own patent doesn’t change the fact that SMSMaps.in uses Unmesh’s invention too. (Note: Navin would be granted this patent, but neither Navin nor anyone else would be able to use Navin’s invention without also getting permission from Unmesh to use his invention.)

Question: Hemant has worked for several years to build a software application that he now wants to sell on his website. Unfortunately, a friend points out that his software uses an algorithm that is patented by DadaGiri Software Pvt. Ltd. DadaGiri Software is known to be litigious and is likely to sue Hemant for infringement. What can Hemant do?

  • Investigate the possibility of getting that patent declared invalid by the courts
  • Analyze the patent claims, and check if it’s possible to re-design the application so that it doesn’t infringe the patent
  • Hemant is in ruins, since the patents granted are ‘brahmastras’
  • Explore the possibility of licensing the patent

Answer: All of the above are possibilities. It is quite possible that a patent that has been granted is not really valid, for any number of reasons, including existing prior art (i.e. this ‘invention’ had been publicly known before the patent was filed). Also, most of the time, it is possible to re-design a product so that it does not infringe existing patents.

Do you understand copyrights and patents? Take this quiz

On 19th September, the Pune Open Coffee Club will host a presentation on copyrights and patents. The focus will be on clearing up common misconceptions POCC members have about copyrights and patents.

Do you have any misconceptions? Our survey so far indicates that most people have some really major blind spots. Try the quiz below – the answers will be discussed during the meeting tomorrow and will be published on PuneTech next week.

If you don’t see a form above, then click here to view the form in a browser window.

Please fill out the form – your answers will help us get a better understanding which parts people are most unsure about, so we can tailor the presentations accordingly. The correct answers will be discussed during the presentation on Saturday, and then published on punetech.com

SEAP Workshop – Intellectual Property – Management, Protection and Exploitation Strategies – Sept 17

Click the logo for other PuneTech articles about SEAP
Click the logo for other PuneTech articles about SEAP

Later today, the Software Exporters Association of Pune (SEAP) and Nishith Desai Associates present a workshop on intellectual property that will cover the following areas:

  • Creation and Identification of protectable Intellectual Property and means of protection
  • Acquisition of Intellectual Property
  • Intellectual Property strategy and commercialization
  • Use of third party IP – precautions to be taken
  • ICT Patents – Indian Scenario
  • Remedies for breach of Intellectual Property

This is today, September 17th, from 2pm to 5pm at Dewang Mehta Auditorium, Bhageerath, Persistent Systems, S.B. Road.

For further details of this event, including detailed profiles of the speakers, see the PuneTech calendar entry. Note: this is different from the POCC event on copyrights and patents that will be held on Saturday 19th September, 4pm, at SICSR.

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Copyrights and Patents for Startups – POCC event Sept 19th

What: Pune OpenCoffee Club meeting on copyrights and patent issues that startups should be aware of.
When: Saturday, Sept 19th, 4pm-7pm
Where: Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research, Atur Centre, Model Colony. Map.
Registration and Fees: This event is free for all to attend. No registration required.

Talk 1: Understanding Copyrights, by Navin Kabra

Pune OpenCoffee Club - POCC Logo
Click on the logo to find all punetech articles about the POCC

Many startup founders are unclear on the details of what exactly copyright law entails. I’ve seen a few Pune startups get into significant trouble due to their ignorance. And I’ve seen a lot of them inadvertently indulge in very risky behavior.

In this talk I’ll cover the following points:

  • Basic introduction to copyrights
  • How copyrights are different from patents and trade secrets
  • Fair Use: What is and what isn’t a copyright violation
  • Understanding open source licenses: GPL, Apache, Affero GPL (for cloud computing), Creative Commons, etc

About the speaker: Navin Kabra

Navin is a co-founder and CTO at BharatHealth.com, a startup focused on creating online software products in the healthcare industry. He is also the creator of PuneTech.com, a portal for the tech community in Pune, India. In the past he has worked for large companies, and small; he has seen a successful exit, and he has seen a dotcom failure; he has done product development, and he has done research; he has written consumer software, and he has written enterprise software; and he has been a developer, he has been an architect, and he has been a manager (but hated it). He has a PhD in Computer Sciences from the University of Wisconsin in 1999, and a B.Tech. in Computer Sciences from IIT-Bombay before that.

Talk 2: Become Patent-Smart Entrepreneur – by Hemant Chaskar

In this talk audience will receive practical knowledge on patents. Basics of patents will be covered, followed by guidelines on pursuing effective patent strategy for startups and early stage ventures.

About the speaker: Hemant Chaskar

Hemant has been in the computer and networking industry for more than a decade. His experience spans research, product design and engineering, intellectual property management, technical marketing, and standardization. He is currently Director of Technology at AirTight Networks. Hemant holds PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from UIUC and is also a patent agent registered with the US Patent Office.

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Key Legal Issues in InfoTech – Seminar, July 28

seap-logo-inWhat: Seminar on key legal issues in InfoTech – key clauses, law, enforcement, jurisdiction in tech agreements, and IP issues
When: 2pm to 5pm, Tuesday, 28th July
Where: Bhageerath, Persistent Systems, S.B. Road
Registration and Fees: This event is free for all. Send mail to tanvi@nishithdesai.com if you’re interested.

Software Exporters Association of Pune (SEAP) and Nishith Desai Associates will hold a seminar on various legal issues an infotech business needs to worry about. The workshop aims to address issues related to intellectual property, trade secrets, usage of open source along with insights on key clauses pertaining to technology agreements from a legal as well as a commercial perspective. The workshop would also provide insights on enforcement and jurisdiction issues which are commonly faced in cross border technology agreements.


  • Protection of Intellectual Property, Confidential Information, Trade Secrets – Usage of Third Party IP and Open Source. Gowree Gokhale (Partner, Nishith Desai Associates)
  • Key Clauses in Technology Agreements along with negotiating tactics. Bharat Mehta (Vice President-Legal, Oracle Financial Services Software Limited)
  • Governing Law, Enforcement and Jurisdiction Issues in Technology Agreements. Shafaq Uraizee-Sapre (Senior Associate, Nishith Desai Associates)

About the Speakers

Gowree Gokhale

Ms. Gowree Gokhale heads the IP, technology, media and entertainment law practice of the multi-skilled, research-based international law firm, Nishith Desai Associates. Her specializations also include litigation and dispute resolution, franchising, pharma and life sciences laws, commercial laws, HR laws. Ms. Gokhale has led several IP, technology and HR litigations. She has been involved in negotiations of large BPO and technology contracts. She is involved in patent oppositions and devising patent litigation strategies for clients. She has assisted international media and productions houses and pharmaceutical companies in structuring of their India operations, including IP structuring, and advice on regulatory issues. She specializes in structuring of cross border outsourcing and franchising arrangements and has negotiated several transactions both for Indian and MNC clients. Ms. Gokhale is a Solicitor and a registered Patent & Trade Mark attorney and has been practicing for the last 13 years. She is a visiting faculty at Institute of Intellectual Property Law Studies at Mumbai. She has authored research reports and articles on variety of subjects and has presented at various national and international seminars and conferences on IP, pharmaceutical, media and technology laws. She has is a regular speaker at NASSCOM TLF seminars on technology contracts, CII on enforcement of IP in India.

Bharat Mehta

Vice President – Legal at Oracle Financial Services Software Limited is an experienced professional in legal and commercial matters related to IP and IT industry worldwide. Bharat has the opportunity of interacting, negotiating and concluding business deals globally with experience spanning across functions including mergers & acquisitions, intellectual property, customers, partners, vendors and employee related matters, corporate affairs, group integration, business practices, risk management and compliance. Bharat enjoys the continuous challenge and rewarding experience of working with professionals of different worldviews. He is actively involved as a speaker at various forums in spreading awareness about intellectual property, technology contracts and compliance. He is also one of the founding members of the Technology Law Forum (TLF). He graduated out of Mumbai University and has a Degree in Law.

Shafaq Uraizee-Sapre

Ms. Shafaq Uraizee Sapre is a senior member of the Technology, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Fund Investment and Real Estate Practice Groups at the firm. Ms. Sapre received a Bachelors and Masters degree in law from the University of Bombay. Ms. Sapre’s practice focuses on cutting edge complex cross-border litigations and international commercial arbitrations. Ms. Sapre is a leading attorney in assisting clients to reach creative and pragmatic solutions and effective dispute resolution strategies. In addition to in-house representation, Ms. Sapre represents clients in Supreme Court, High Court and respective Tribunals in a wide-range of sectors including corporate, media, entertainment, franchising and oil & gas. Ms. Sapre’s practice includes a variety of transactions with both domestic and international venture capital and private equity funds. Ms. Sapre has advised and assisted clients on issues concerning the legal aspects of structuring and restructuring investments in India and globally, documentation, private equity investments and mergers and acquisitions across a multitude of sectors. Ms. Sapre has led several legal due diligence teams and often renders opinions on issues concerning litigation, arbitration, Indian labor laws and contract law.

Ms. Sapre has spoken at the Confederation of Indian Industry and actively writes for publications such as the Indian Venture Capital Journal. Ms. Sapre is a member of the Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa and has been practicing as a litigator at the Bombay High Court since 2000.

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MCCIA workshop: Intellectual property Right awarness, acquisition and commercialization – 24 April

mccia-pune-logoWhat: Workshop on ‘Intellectual property Right awarness, acquisition and commercialization’ arranged by MCCIA on the occasion of World Intellectual Property Day
When: 3pm, Friday, 24 April
Where: Hall no. 6, 5th Floor, Wing A, MCCIA Trade Tower, S.B. Road
Registration and Fees: This event is free for all to attend. No registration required.

On the occasion of World Intellectual Property Day, MCCIA is organizing a workshop on ‘Intellectual property Right awarness, acquisition and commercialization”. The workshop aims to provide an interface between the Industry and IP professionals so that the participants can leverage IP as a better business tool in their Corporate Wealth Creation. The topics of discussion will include cost effective way to protect IP, IP as a successful business tool, licensing stratergies, IP valuation doring public issues, IPR policy acquisition, invention disclosure etc.

The three hour workshop will commence at 3pm on Friday, April 24 at Hall No. 6, 5th Floor, A Wing, MCCIA, Senapati Bapat Road, Pune 16. There will be no participation fees for this workshop.

For more information about other tech events happening in Pune, see the PuneTech Calendar.

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