Ideation, Conceptualization, Realization

Discovering the Creative Scope in Software Engineering from the Perspective of Copyright and Patent Law

Sarah Leins-Zurmuehle

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The software industry is regarded as one of the most creative and dynamic industries in the world. At the same time, sheltering software through copyright and patent law has been a major point of contention for the past 40 years. This doctoral thesis aims to provide new insights to this discussion. Through the use of sociological methodology, it supplies the necessary basic scientific research regarding how software is developed and commercialized nowadays. Based on these findings, it then legally evaluates to what extent copyright and patent law are able to reflect these structures and determines how an optimal protection scope for computer programs could look like today. This doctoral thesis on one hand offers novel insights and points of view on existing legal doctrines. It further acknowledges as well as legally qualifies some prevailing trends in the software industry, such as Scrum and continuous delivery, that have so far been largely unaddressed by copyright and patent law.