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Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Commissioned software ownership case

The IPKat has learnt from Out-Law.com of a decision that doesn’t yet seem to have made it to BAILII.

It concerns a dispute between Stephen Landamore, a programmer, and Laurence Wrenn, who runs a business selling interfaces for cars and audio equipment. Wrenn commissioned Landamore to write the software for those interfaces, but no express agreement was made concerning the ownership of the copyright in the work. The pair fell out, and a court case ensued.

Robert Englehart QC, sitting as a deputy judge, found that Wrenn was entitled to an implied exclusive licence, but not the assignment of copyright that he sought. He also awarded Landamore royalties of just over £45k.

The IPKat reckons that from the looks of it, this is a relatively unexceptional case. However, he’d be interested to know on what grounds the deputy judge justified the granting of a licence that was exclusive.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would have thought that the exclusivity would also be an implied term in the commission - if I pay someone to write some software for me, I would not want my competitors to be able to receive the same software on the cheap. Of course, the programmer would be in a position to use the knowledge obtained in writing the software to write new code for the competitors but that is another matter.

hydrofoil water scooter said...

This scenario is a unique case that should be considered. Its a good learnings.

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