The legal protection of computer programs with particular reference to U.K., U.S., Japan and Korea.
This thesis is designed to discuss and
compare the legal measures in U.K., U.S., Japan and Korea
for protecting computer programs.
Following an introductory chapter, the first sUbstantive
chapter discusses patent protection of computer-programrelated
inventions in those four countries. In interpreting
the exclusion of computer programs as such in the
British Patents Act 1977 and, also, in implementing the
Patent Office's guidelines in U.S., Japan and Korea,
their respective Patent Offices and courts are struggling
to see what computer-program-related inventions qualify
for patentable inventions.
The following chapter moves on to copyright protection
for computer programs. While Korea has enacted the
"computer Program Protection Act", the other three
countries all amended their Copyright Act expressly to
include computer programs as a copyrightable work.
Despite these legislative measures, the legal protection
of computer programs still has a few problems, which are
dealt with in many sections of this chapter: To what extent
structures and interfaces of programs are protected
and how far reverse analysis of existing programs is permitted.
These unresolved problems under current
copyright laws and conflicting decisions of American
courts lead to a very serious question whether copyright
is really appropriate to protect computer programs. The
appropriateness of copyright is questioned again in
another chapter which deals with semiconductor layout
other forms of protection for computer programs are discussed
altogether in one chapter. It is found that there
are considerable differences between countries in their
legal systems concerning contracts, confidential information,
unfair competition and utility models.
Finally, it is investigated whether the current provisions
of international conventions cover computer
programs and whether, if so, those national measures for
computer programs are consistent with the international
conventions. My thesis, then, comes to the conclusion
that exi.tinq leqal meaaurea, national or international,
are not quite appropriate for protecting computer
programs but need further adaptations.