The answer to being ousted from the wonderland of patents is to go through the looking glass to copyrights. Since SCOTUS’ 2014 decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, over 70% of software patents have been struck down as being too "abstract". In answer to this, Synopsys registered its software code for static timing analysis (STA) with the U.S. Copyright Office. When AtopTech started selling STA that was eerily close to the one belonging to Synopsys, Synopsys sued for copyright infringement. A jury awarded Synposys over $30 million in damages against AtopTech.

WHY YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS. The Alice decision has created a tumultuous time for software protection. Without patent protection, software developers and their counsel had to come up with other ways to protect the code. As Synopsys showed us, copyright protection is a viable alternative. But it’s not a one size fits all solution. Software might also be protectable as a trade secret. So, software needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis to determine the appropriate method of protection.

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