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Patent law. Patent laws of Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Thailand are all silent on the issue of
patentability of computer programs. In theory, patent law does not provide protection for a
computer program itself. However, Japan and Taiwan have granted patents for certain computer
programs, especially if the computer program is described in conjunction with a method or
computer in which the program is used in the specification of an application.

Copyright law. Under Japanese law, both source code and object code are copyrightable. Translation
from source code to object code constitutes a reproduction of the source code. Japanese copyright
law further provides that the author shall have the exclusive right to reproduce, translate, arrange,
transform, dramatize, cinematize, or adapt his work. The period of protection for computer
software in Japan is the life of the creator plus 50 years. For unpublished software, the copyright
endures 50 years after the creation of the work.

Trade-secret law. Japan is the only Pacific Rim nation whose law provides for trade-secret
protection. Under the law, if a computer program properly qualifies as a trade secret, the computer
program owner who is damaged or is likely to suffer damage by unauthorized use or disclosure of
the program. The trade secret owner may request that the media on where the program is stored
be destroyed.


Patent law. The European Community has agreed in its Software Directive that the prescribed protection
of computer programs under copyright law does not have prejudice the application of other forms of
protection where appropriate. Computer Software may be protected under patent law in addition to
copyright in European Community member nations.

French Patent law provides that computer programs are not patentable. The patent protects
the process but not the software; the software can be used independently or in another process.
Hardware may be patented. Swiss patent law does not provide patent protection for computer

Copyright law. The European community follows the directive requiring software is protected by
copyright as a literary work within the meaning of the Berne Convention. The French term of protection
under copyright is 25 years from the creation date of the software. In Switzerland, protection extends
for the life of the author plus 50 years.

Trade secret law. Computer software is properly protected by trade-secret and copy-right laws in
European Community member nations.


Patent law. In Argentina, software was not known or considered when the patent law was enacted, so it
is not specifically mentioned in the law. The Patent Office may allow patent protection when it is part of
the essence of an invention.

Under Brazilian law, while hardware is subject to patent protection, software is not considered
patentable and is expressly excluded from patentable subject matter by the Industrial Property Code.