TDT30 - Software systems and intellectual assets management

Tagger: idi teorimodul

Teacher: Anna Leida Mölder

The laws covering software development and research are complex and confusing, but are necessary to understand in order to advance software solutions from desktop to full scale usable applications. Legal aspects and requirements will affect anyone working with software solutions whether they want to or not. As a consequence, understanding of the legal framework is necessary also to avoid infringement of others, how to comply with data privacy laws and what to think about when entering contractual agreements. This course will use practical examples to illustrate the technical aspects of these legal instruments, e.g. use of version handling, open source licenses and using and referencing software patents. We will cover basic concepts of intellectual assets management from a general perspective, but with practical examples using software applications, and the students will gain a deeper understanding of the legal framework around their own software development in research or industry and how intellectual property management connects to software development.

Learning Goals

Knowledge: The students will gain a basic understanding of the definition of intellectual assets and what may constitute intellectual property as a software developer and researcher. They should be able to clearly identify potential elements of intellectual and commercial value in the scope of a software application, and have a basic understanding of how to proceed with securing intellectual property rights. The student should have insight into infringement, legal proceedings, and know how to share, sell, purchase or copy code material in a fair and ethical manner. The students will also obtain a deeper insight into the most commonly used open source licenses, software patents and copyright and know which protection to use under various circumstances. In addition, the students will gain an overview of the key points to consider in contracting, non-disclosure agreements, data privacy laws and research consortia and employment agreements. Knowledge about these tools will be used in the analysis of current examples from academia and industry. In this context, relevant terminology, models and research directions will be discussed with a focus on the use of software as an intellectual asset.

Competence: The students should be able to understand the legal framework surrounding software development and research in computer science from the perspective of a research as well as industry. They should have a basic understanding of the the differences between different types of patents and licenses, such as PCT and EPC, as well as legal and contractual tools for software protection, and knowledge of the differences between open source software licenses.

Learning Activities

This course will be seminar-based. The syllabus will be a selected set of scientific articles and handout material. The material will be presented and discussed orally during the seminars. The students will then be required to read the corresponding material. The next session will start with a discussion around the written material. Two seminars will focus on student assignments, where students will bring case examples from their own research to work with in a hypothetical scenario.

Mandatory Activities

Participation in seminars. The date of the first seminar will be announced in the beginning of September.


Oral examination, completed student assignments


  1. Egelie, K.J., Lie, H.T., Grimpe, C. et al. Access and openness in biotechnology research collaborations between universities and industry. Nat Biotechnol 37, 1413–1419 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41587-019-0324-7
  2. Van Lindberg. Intellectual Property and Open Source: A Practical Guide To Protecting Code. ISBN-13: 978-0596517960
  3. Lawrence Rosen. Open Source Licensing: Software Freedom and Intellectual Property Law. ISBN-13: 978-0131487871
  4. European Patent Convention. 16th ed. 2016. https://www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/html/epc/2016/e/index.html
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