IT Law & Intellectual Property Law | Legal analysis
“The deposit of source codes and/or databases gives a key advantage when an investment fund estimates the economic value of a business”
23 March 2022

Samuel BRAU, President of the company Drone Geofencing, has registered the source code of “Gesta Drone” with the French Agency for the Protection of Programs (APP). Gesta Drone is a professional drone management software allowing, more specifically, to declare flights to the French Civil Aviation Authority (Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile – DGAC) and the Controlled Airspace. Believing in the usefulness of these registrations to better secure and promote digital innovations and the investments they require, Samuel BRAU shares with our newsletter “La Lettre du DPO his insights on this subject, which is often misunderstood by companies. 

What is your background and what led you to become interested in digital world and data? 

After studying engineering in computer science, electronics and automation, I held operational management positions (engineering planning, operations, sales) at Equant (telecommunication services operator for multinationals), Transpac (data transmission network operator) and France Telecom for 12 years. Then, in 2008, I co-founded Monte Cristo Consulting, a consulting firm for financial services, both in the private and public sector. In 2016, I joined Virdys (a software company providing virtual reality and augmented reality content), which I left to found Drone Geofencing. My interest in digital world has been part of my career since the beginning. Furthermore, my previous experiences in fundraising at Monte Cristo Consulting as a consulting firm made me aware of the need not to neglect the legal aspects related to the protection of software by proceeding to a probationary deposit with a trusted third party. 

Can you tell us more about these digital content deposits? 

As you know, software is protected by copyright, and databases by producer‘s rights, which are two fragile rights, because unlike patents or trademarks, they are not registered with an official body (the INPI the national intellectual property office in France – for example). It is necessary to prove not only the originality or a substantial investment for the project, depending on the case, but also and above all that you were the author or producer, and this is important to prove it before the competitors. This last point requires to have a reliable and recognized proof, establishing the existence of the digital content at a specific date. I add that it is also advisable to keep a certain trace of its own creation to be able to successfully respond to possible accusations of plagiarism by third parties opposing their own creation, if this one is similar. Finally, a digital content can play a role of “guarantee“, when, for example, your company signs a contract with a client/partner of large scale/great financial strength, which can be reassured by the fact that you registered the software that you put at its disposal. This will ensure access to the software in the event that your company, for example, goes bankrupt. Also, the deposit of source codes and/or databases gives a key advantage for the business valuation, in particular during an investment operation. 

What is your vision on the future of the role and importance of deposits of digital creations in fundraising? 

This type of deposit will make the company’s ownership of the digital elements and content it has developed visible and transparent and will become more common among the companies which have understood the need to enhance their intellectual property. Because, as you know, the digital revolution has succeeded the industrial revolution. Consequently, the deposit of digital creations will play the same role as that played in the 20th century by the deposit of patents, industrial designs, etc., even if their legal force is different. As the INPI does not offer solutions in this field, it is necessary to have recourse to trusted third parties, and more specifically in this area, the French Agency for the Protection of Programs (APP), which offers the historical background and the strongest guarantees of professionalism.

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