Stephen G. Cobb - Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

Broward County Florida Intellectual Property

The case is pretty simple, in theory. You thought up a computer program or game, and you wrote out the right code and the right graphics. You installed it on a friend’s computer and now he is a millionaire and you are eating cheese doodles at four in the afternoon in a one-room apartment. Your friend has stolen not only your game, but your hard work, your thoughts- your intellectual property. Intellectual property is defined by Florida law as not only the data, but programs and other intangible components used in computing. You cannot put a price on your thinking, but you can put a value on what it creates. Your next step should be to call a Broward attorney and explain your situation to him. Together you will come up with a plan for not only prosecuting this criminal, but also recouping some of what you have lost.

  • Let’s first look at the criminal action. Regardless of whether you could touch it or not, that program, the data and all related files are property. It will now be up to the Broward attorney working on your case to establish whose property it actually was. Is there any way to establish who did the actual writing of the original concept for instance? Can you actually prove the idea and the program are yours and yours alone and not a collaborative effort between you and the alleged thief? (Establishing a collaborative effort will not necessarily absolve him of any wrong doing at this point. Even having partial ownership is not enough to allow him to just sell for a profit and not include you in the benefits.)
  • Next, the Florida criminal defense attorney will want to determine the actual and potential value of the intellectual property. Let’s say this game is the big hit of the gaming world, selling a million copies in its first week of release. The attorney can establish the right market value for that game as well as its potential future market value as well.
  • Finally, the Broward attorney will probably discuss ways that the defense can prevent the case from moving forward, including abandonment (did you just simply leave the game on the computer with no intention of taking it to your own home), entitlement (did you give this as a gift, real or implied) and negligence (did you simply install the computer game and its related software on someone else’s computer without their knowledge, consent or acceptance). Knowing how the other side will react is important so that you can plan your next attack- just like in your computer game, only in real life.
Stephen G. Cobb, Esq.

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