Computer Systems and Software Development

The attributes that are critical for a successful law firm software development and licensing practice group include tremendous legal skill equally matched by tremendous technical skill and experience. With this understanding at Frost Brown Todd we have an undeniable advantage over our competition in that among our software development and licensing attorneys we have individuals with computer science degrees, former programmers or system designers and individuals who worked as information technology consultants before they were lawyers. In order to find attorneys with the technical skill FBT can offer in the area of software development and licensing, companies must look outside of our seven-state region and will likely pay much higher rates.

Frost Brown Todd has substantial experience in legal issues related to software development and licensing. An example of this significant work includes the recent partnering of FBT with the in-house counsel team for a large payment processing services client to assist with bringing a number of software services, which had previously been provided by vendors, in-house. Frost Brown Todd was involved in making sure that the organization’s project would not infringe any intellectual property rights owned by the vendors or violate any existing agreements. During this process, our attorneys were not only actively involved in negotiating and drafting agreements with outside developers, who were engaged by the client to work on developing their new in-house systems, but were also involved in negotiating for transition services from old vendors as their contracts wound down. 

This project was significant because it drew heavily on our attorneys’ understanding of intellectual property issues (e.g. evaluating what IP was held by the vendors and making sure that the software created by the developers would be owned by the client) as well as their understanding of the business and design of the software system,  including the ability to identify what rights the client actually needed, and what they could safely use as negotiating points. 

Our attorneys have also worked on numerous smaller projects related to licensing and software development, including negotiating and drafting licenses for software sale, preparing employment agreements for software developers, negotiating agreements for research and development as well as preparing traditional IP licenses (e.g. rights to develop/use software covered by a patent).

In addition, our attorneys have a unique expertise particularly as it relates to open source software. The following publications and presentations reflect just a portion of our knowledge in this area:

  • Northern Kentucky University's Computer Science Program (CIT 140 003 Introduction to Computer Information Technology and CSC 640 001 Advanced Software Engineering) Guest Lecturers on Risk Management in Open Source, Feb. 2009
  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) at University of Cincinnati, "Risk Management in Open Source", Feb. 24, 2009
  • Cincinnati Linux User's Group, "Risk Management in Open Source", Feb. 29, 2009
  • 2008 IMI Security Symposium & Expo, Northern Kentucky University, Secure Open Source -Legally Speaking, Reality or Oxymoron?, Oct. 3, 2008
  • Dayton Intellectual Property Law Association, presentation on Risk Management in Open Source issues, Dec. 2008