Developper Blockchain protection's guide.

Smartcontract, Blockchain, DAO, Dapps, Token are considered in law as software and as such, they may be protected by copyright.


The question is then which elements are protectable and under which conditions?


Software like smartcontract, DAO, Blockchain, Dapps, Tokens will be protected if and only if they are original



A developer is considered as an author and as such, smartcontracts, Dapps or DAO that will be created must meet the conditions of originality of a work. Article 1 of Directive 91/250 / EEC of May 14, 1991 provides that "a computer program is protected if it is original, in the sense that it is the intellectual creation proper to its author. No other criteria apply to determine whether he is eligible for protection. "

The software that does not result from simple know-how but from the developer's personalized choices will be considered original. His work, whether considered as a blockchain, a smartcontract, a token or a CAD should be imprinted with the personality of its author, that is to say a personalized effort going beyond the simple implementation work of automatic logic.

If this condition of originality is respected, the creation will be protected under copyright law.

Only preparatory documents, source code, object code, and graphic interface can be protected

Preparatory documents are all documents used as a draft for the software creation. Specifications as well as any other documents can thus be protected.

Source code is a series of instructions written by programmers in computer programming language. It is not readable as such by hardware. It needs to be compiled in object code, that is to say in machine executable code that looks like a sequence of 0 and 1.

For the hardware to be able to read and execute the instructions issued by the source code, it must be transformed into object code also called executable code, which is a sequence of 0 and 1. This transformation is called compilation


As a concrete example, an Ethereum smartcontract developer can protect the instruction suite written in Solidity as well as the object code compiled by the resulting Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). Any preparatory document which made it possible to create this smartcontract may also be subject to protection as soon as it is sufficiently advanced to contain the seeds of subsequent developments.


Ideas, protocols, algorithms and Programming Language are expressly excluded from copyright protection, but there are ways to protect them.


Ideas are free to navigate and are excluded from copyright protection. Only their materialization as a preparatory document, source code or object code can be protected.


Regarding algorithms and protocols, there are several ways to protect them despite their exclusion:

1. It is possible to protect the source code that contains the protocol or algorithm. With this solution, only the code that contains the protocol is protected. If a competitor can write code otherwise with sufficient originality then he will also benefit from protection even if the protocol or algorithm has been copied.


2. It is possible to obtain a European Patent. The main interest is that the purpose and functionality of the software are protected and no longer just the source code. This solution comes up against the practical problem of patent law, namely the obligation of an expensive deposit, of protection obtained by country and of the cost of the fees to be paid.


3. Protection by secret makes it possible to protect the functionality and purpose of the software and not only the letters of the code and preparatory documents. There are several forms of secrecy protection described here. Among them we will cite the prior personal right of possession which offers protection similar to that of patent law provided that the invention is kept secret.