IP Protection and Licensing Go Hand-in-Hand
2023-01-31 Tadashi Shiraki
Most companies, particularly software developers, are mindful of the need to protect their critical IP from theft, counterfeiting, and illegal use. In most cases, the first step is to take the legal approach to applying for trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, patents, etc., even well before any code is written. Intellisoft, an IT consulting firm and software developer, advises as such:
- Recruit a professional attorney or team of lawyers to make it clear which is the best way to protect your product, as well as what kind of rights you will obtain.
- File for patents and register trademarks whenever you can do that.
- Screen staff and outsourced experts and ask them to sign non-disclosure documents before cooperating with you.
- Keep your data on secure devices with reliable protection means like complicated passwords and two-factor authentication and stick to the top practices for info security.
Certainly, attending to the legal aspects of IP protection is important. But the fourth suggestion requires further analysis. What does “reliable protection” mean? Storing code on a secure network or device using complicated passwords and two-factor authentication are part of the story. What should be added to this advice is the hardening of the code itself with strong encryption mechanisms to deny access to the code without the proper authorization and license and entitlement management to ensure only the authorized people have access to the software.
For example, look at Leader Electronics Corp., Japanese specialists for precision electronic measuring equipment used by engineers and technicians in the broadcasting industry and other areas. The company and their products have been involved in several historic milestones, e.g., they provided some of the vital equipment for the very first live broadcast from the peak of Mt. Everest. You can imagine the man-hours that went into research and development for this specialized product and the subsequent value of their IP.
Leader Electronics uses CodeMeter from Wibu-Systems to protect and license their measurement software developed in MATLAB. CodeMeter contributes not only its encryption technology, but also its smart licensing and license management capabilities.
SFR-Fit is the company’s software solution for camera resolution measurement, an important piece in the puzzle for the high-resolution, ultra-precision cameras and optical equipment that are finding many new use cases. With the power of MATLAB/Simulink, Leader Electronics Corp. developed the SFR-Fit software to facilitate that process.
The SFR-Fit software is an attractive solution for users worldwide but developing these markets and selling the MATLAB-based software proved a headache for IP security and licensing, as Leader Electronics Corp.’s first licensing solution struggled with license management and activation. However, the electronics specialists found CodeMeter to fit their needs perfectly.
As the only protection and licensing technology that works meaningfully with applications developed in MATLAB, CodeMeter delivered its core strength with its encryption capabilities. Two other factors were decisive for Leader Electronic Corp.’s decision to use Wibu-Systems’ solution: The flexibility and comfort of online license management and activation, and the built-in support for trial licenses, which are a powerful tool for attracting new users in the markets that the company is developing.
Licenses for SFR-Fit are provided in hardware (CmDongle) or software (CmActLicense) containers. Operating in the background, CodeMeter License Central and License Portal are used to make the process of selling, distributing, and activating licenses as easy and lightweight as possible for users. With global support available and the reliability guaranteed by using CodeMeter License Central hosted by Wibu-Systems, Leader Electronics Corp. can sell its products worldwide, with license activation and management happening with automated ease over the Internet.
CodeMeter also shows its business enabling power for Leader Electronics Corp. with its comfortable trial licenses. Prospective users of SFR-Fit can evaluate the software on a trial basis, and, should they decide to buy a regular license, activate the new license over License Portal with a simple ticket ID and without any change to their installed systems and virtually no break in their use of the software. Lowering the threshold in this way can prove a dealmaker for new clients and users and develop important new leads for Leader Electronics Corp. in its international growth strategy.
If you are interested, you can read the complete case study and learn more about CodeMeter and its IP protection and licensing capabilities.
Country Manager, WIBU-SYSTEMS K.K.
After earning his degree in mechanical engineering at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Tadashi has served in software sales and marketing positions at HP, Agilent Technologies, and MathWorks, for 28 years. He has helped customers succeed in model-based design and computational analytics/algorithm software design in various industries including automotive, robotics, communication systems, and semiconductor design, where security and safety integrity requirements such as ISO26262 and IEC61508 are increasing. As Country Manager for WIBU-SYSTEMS K.K., Tadashi is now responsible for sales, support, and marketing in Japan. His main focus is contributing to the success of customers implementing secure protection and licensing mechanisms to achieve higher software monetizations goals.