In 1993, a set of German University students who doubled as artists and computer hackers led by Jachim Sauter and Juri Muller developed a 3D world mapping software program which they called “Terravision”. It was an offshoot of their tech and art company; ART+COM in Berlin as a “networked virtual and graphical representation of the earth in 3D graphics. Juri Muller was the Chief programmer of the software and inventor of the algorithms for the software, while Joachim Sauter focused on the designs and the art of the Terravison program and It was an incredible fusion of art and technology.
This software program blew the mind of the whole world in the early 90s as there’s no thing like it as at that time in the world of technology and internet. An example includes Zintego Google Docs Receipt Maker and many other software solutions.
The Terravison program gave the young students the spotlight and fame they needed and it gave them the opportunities to get invited to science and technology exhibitions around the world to present their 3D masterpiece program.
During the course of their traveling for exhibitions, they visited Silicon Valley in California, the world renown home of tech and startups. In Silicon Valley, they met Brian McClendon; an American software engineer who worked as the chief engineer in Silicon graphics at that time. The German programmers quickly bonded with the American silicon graphics engineer and at the cause of their friendly discussions, Juri Muller, the Chief programmer of the Terravison program got carried away and divulged everything there is to know about the algorithms of the Terravison software program to Brian McClendon.
Brain McClendon, being a smart programmer, picked up the information about the Terravison algorithms, went ahead and designed something very similar to Terravison in collaboration with Google, the program which they called “Google Earth”. Yes, the famous google earth you know of.
In 2014, ART+COM, the company for Terravison filed a lawsuit against Google, claiming its product called Google earth and other related software products made in 2001 infringed on the patent rights of their product Terravison which was invented in 1993 .
Two years later, the case was decided in favor of Google as the jury of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware said that after diligent consideration of the case, they found that Google Earth did not in any way infringe on the patent rights of Terravison. The German programmers lost the case to the tech giant, Google.
Intellectual property theft and “copycatting” are words that are quite familiar to the invention world. The tech and invention world, as exciting as it could be, is smeared with a lot of cases of intellectual property theft, patent right infringements, copying of inventions and passing off of inventions.
Counterparts are always stealing and copying algorithms for computer programs, softwares, inventions and ideas in the tech world.
…and this is why you need to get a patent right on every one of your inventions before you share the idea or disclose information on the invention to anybody.
To better understand patent law, you need to hire professionals who have studied law at university. To study law, you need to work very hard, so students often seek property law assignment help by EduBirdie. This does not prevent them from doing their job well in the future and can advise you on patent and property law so that cases similar to Terravison do not arise.
No matter how much you cry foul that your invention or algorithm was stolen by your competitor(s), it will be difficult for you to prove that the stolen invention or algorithm was actually yours unless you can show that you have a patent right to those inventions. So the way to protect your inventions and algorithms is to get patent rights on them:
A patent is a right granted to an inventor by the government that permits the inventor to exclude others from making, selling or using the invention for a period of time. It grants the inventor the monopoly on the product for a specific number of years.
It should be highly noted that being the first person to invent the product doesn’t count; neither does it matter in law; what counts is who is the first person to apply for the patent of that product. This collaborates the legal principle that says “the first in time takes priority in law”.
This is also the provision of S.2 (I) of the Patent and Design Act, 1971 which reads:
Right to patent
(l) Subject to this section, the right to a patent in respect of an invention is vested in the statutory inventor, that is to say, the person who, whether or not he is the true inven- tor, is the first to file, or validly to claim a foreign priority for, a patent application in re- spect of the invention.
This section of the law is to the effect that a statutory inventor is the one that is recognized by law as the legal owner of the invention; whether or not he is the original inventor of the product is not the business of the law but inasmuch as he is the first to file for patent on the product, he is thereby deemed to be the statutory and rightful owner of the product.
Finally,inventors should take note that, you can not protect or patent an idea, you can only protect or patent an expression of an idea; this means that mere ideas are not patentable, you can only get a patent right when that fabulous idea of yours have been expressed to become an original or a new invention or product.