There is a lack of efficient protection for intellectual property within the computer software medium. Intellectual property of computer software has traditionally been protected by copyrights and relatively recently has been afforded protection of its intellectual property via patents. The distinction between a computer's hardware and a computer's software is decreasing; likewise, the distinction for such protection, namely patents and copyrights, respectively, should be decreased or eliminated, as well. After a brief comparative analysis of patent and copyright protection for computer software, an alternative to the current system of protection for software intellectual property exists. The nature of the software industry is very fast-paced, with innovations coming on incremental scales. The current systems of patent and copyright protection requires vast resources to implement intellectual property protection for innovations that are outdated five to seven years later. Using an infusion of concepts from economics and the United States legal system, as well as the West German multi-tiered patent protection system, a proposal to efficiently protect the intellectual property of computer software is recommended.
Larry N. Woodard, The West German Smorgasbord Approach to Intellectual Property Protection of Computer Software, 15 J. Marshall J. Computer & Info. L. 883 (1997)