Imagine I work for a company that has a software X, no algorithm in this software is patented.

If I want to create an open source software Z that has similar features as software X by looking into the code of software X and recreating the logic would that be illegal?

Consider that software Z would be created using different technology, different programming language and would not have copy-pasted code from X.


1 Answer 1


Your question mixes up two different aspects of intellectual property.

From a copyright point of view, it is perfectly legal to reproduce the features of a one piece of software in another. The functionlity of the software is not copyright (although the detailed look and feel of the user interface might be).

However you ask if you, as an employee, can do this by "looking into the code of software X". Presumably by doing this learn something of the organisation and algorithms used. Even if you avoid direct copying, you are likely to have learned trade secrets of your employer, and publishing these is at least a civil tort in the US, and in some states a crime.

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