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The Importance of IP Management: A Discussion With Protecode

08.17.2009
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With so many different licencing options available in software development, it can be difficult to ensure that you are abiding by the agreements for any libraries you are using. Protecode offers a solution to deal with this. I discussed their tool with the CEO, Mahshad Koohgoli, to find out more about that their IP management solution is all about, and how the company is also assisting open source projects.

DZone: What does Protecode do?

Mahshad Koohgoli: Protecode Inc. delivers leading products and services for software governance and Intellectual Property (IP) management.  Protecode IP Audit Service is an accurate, fast and efficient process to determine open source and other third party licensing obligations in a code portfolio. Protecode products include Developer IP Assistant, the software industry's first real-time IP management solution, Enterprise IP Analyzer, for bulk analysis and reporting of existing code portfolio, and Build IP Analyzer, for analysis and ensuring end products meet IP obligations. 

Protecode products enable enterprises worldwide to achieve mandated IP governance and effective rationalization of their source code assets, increasing corporate value and reducing costs.

DZone:How important is governing IP in source code? Can you give some examples of where the lack of governance has caused issues?

Mahshad Koohgoli: Knowledge of licensing and copyright obligations in a source code portfolio ensures that the code is legally compliant with the rules around its distribution, commercialization and usage. For an example of the cases where ignorance of IP governance has led to significant problems for companies, see our examples of IP infringement cases[pdf[

DZone: How does Protecode work? Can I run it in a nightly build, as a separate tool or as a plug-in to my IDE?

Mahshad Koohgoli:  Protecode solutions could be used in all stages of a software development lifecycle.

a) Protecode Developer IP Assistant can be used by a developer at a workstation, resulting in analysis of any file that is created, moved, or saved on that workstation. It can also analyze a file as soon as it is checked into a repository.

b) Protecode Enterprise IP Analyzer provides bulk analysis of a large number of files on demand, or pre-scheduled through a command-line interface, to run  for example on a weekly basis.

c) Protecode Enterprise Build Analyzer can be deployed during a Build process, to analyze files that are used to put the final product together.

DZone: What type of report is produced? Does it provide any suggestions or assistance?

Mahshad Koohgoli: Analysis results are shown in a hierarchical, interactive, report. A high-level view provides an overview of the analysis, number and type of files, summary of all licenses and copyright obligations. The user can click on any item to zoom into the details. A summary of the license obligations and required actions associated with the portfolio are also highlighted.

In case where only part of a source file is governed by an obligations (for example due to a cut & paste operation by a developer), the file and the corresponding third-party file are shown side by side and the matching lines are highlighted (Diff >function).

DZone: Are there any plans for a version of the tool to help open source organizations?

Mahshad Koohgoli:  Yes, by request of project leaders in the open source community, Protecode experts will soon be able to undertake a full analysis of a project software directory and provide a detailed confidential report to the project leader in any open source public project.

The complimentary service is dedicated towards the clean and unfettered growth of open source software utilization. Protecode aims to enhance the value of >public open source projects by offering full pedigree maps, ascertaining their IP status and embedded legal obligations, thus freeing all potential users of worries concerning legal business risks.

DZone: Is there a trial available?

Yes, we can provide you with a free evaluation system, no commitments required. On registration, we will provide you a download address, and an activation key. The whole process of downloading, installation and activation takes less than 15 minutes. 

You can download this trial version of the product at: http://www.protecode.com/evaluate.php