The world of software engineering is growing at an exponential rate, and although more generations are entering the tech world and achieving leadership positions, there are still challenges and unanswered questions to consider. Here are a few topics in software ownership to help you figure out where you stand on a budding software legal matter, or to help you avoid legal pitfalls with the help of a business litigation professional.

Code Reuse And Copyright

There are only so many ways to make a certain line of code work. The bigger world of programming is all about putting together specific packages or modules of code to create a unique result, but there are times when a programmer may challenge the world with a truly novel way of doing things.

If you're not a programmer--or at least familiar with programming languages--it can be hard to confirm or desk check the code of employees or contractors. It becomes even harder since code reuse is a major part of not just mainstream programming, but professional programming used for commercial purposes.

You have to know where your code is coming from. Thankfully, you don't have to scour the internet for random parcels of code to figure out if something has been stolen from a random digital locker of information; surveying your software competition will be good enough for now. For everything else, get a lawyer.

A business litigation professional can connect you with software legal experts to properly hire programming employees and contractors with paperwork that controls the ownership of code, along with penalties for blatant code theft. This places a slight barrier between your business and the actions of an alleged software thief, and allows you some time to work on a replacement code from the stolen code if necessary.

Who Figured It Out First?

There are many products and services on the market, and so many unique demands that programmers can meet. What happens when the next big, superstar app has a competitor that does the same thing--and claims to have done it first?

It's not uncommon for multiple software developers to answer a specific need around the same time. Even outside of close competition for a known issue, there may be multiple projects going at once and operating on some higher level of programming community participation. Your programmers and the programmers of other businesses could be responding to the same newsletter or bulletin that called for a specific technique or full product.

You will need to prove intent in some cases. This means showing that your project was in a planning phase for a certain amount of time. If it was a spontaneous discovery on the part of your programming team, it's time to point out the differences in your code and someone else's code to highlight the issue as pure coincidence.

Contact a business litigation professional to discuss your claim potential, defense options, or to get a lawyer on your side who can advise your business on software protection law.