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.