Jenner & Block

Rights in Technical Data, Computer Software, Patents, and Copyright

Among the most daunting areas in government contracts is Intellectual Property.  Contractors and the government regularly are confused by and fight over the allocation of rights in data and software, and both often fail to recognize the extent of a contractor's copyright and patent protection.  The government almost uniformly (but incorrectly) thinks it owns or has exclusive rights in items, components, and software that it has paid for or modified, even though it does not.  And the government almost always asserts rights that are much broader than those to which it is actually entitled.  These issues are compounded by the fact that the "data rights" clauses are some of the longest and most complex in the regulations.

No firm is better poised to sort out these issues without the need for time-consuming and expensive research, because our government contract lawyers have unique experience in this specialized area, having addressed these problems for decades. Jenner & Block attorneys have written the definitive "Briefing Papers" series and articles on the subject, including such topics as "Licensing Commercial Computer Software"; "The 2007 Rewrite of FAR Part 27, Patents, Data, and Copyrights"; "Patent Rights Under Government Contracts"; and "Marking, Delivery, and Reverse Engineering."  Our attorneys lecture nationwide on these subjects, and have successfully litigated these matters before the United States Court of Federal Claims and the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals.