How to approach new competitor to my copyrighted product?


I have an LLC and developed a copyrighted program that I sell online. I frequently enter in various terms online and see how I'm doing in the search results vs. my competitors.

All of a sudden, I am seeing that a new competitor has appeared. I looked on the competitor's website and see that the competitor's program has some similarities to mine- and mine is copyrighted. Not good.

I'm a lawyer, and I know that the lawyerly "cease and desist" letters don't really work. I am looking to get out of my business and sell it for a small amount, as I have a full-time job that takes all of my time and is more profitable.

Any tips on how to approach the competitor? "I see that you're new in the marketplace- let's work out something together- FYI I have a copyright..."?

Also, I know that you can't approach other competitors and coordinate any response to the new competitor, but I know that my other competitors must not like this either.


Competition Copyright

asked Nov 6 '11 at 07:56
1,747 points
  • You're an attorney and you think that a "copyright" on your software somehow entitles or protects you from competition doing the business? – Tim J 12 years ago

2 Answers


A copyright isn't going to prevent someone from selling a similar program or service.

If someone is infringing on a copyright, trademark or patent that you hold you can pursue action. If they are simply offering a similar service, delivered on their own platform or mechanism, that is called "capitalism".

If you want to sell your company to them you should figure out a fair market value and then approach them with some kind of offer.

answered Nov 6 '11 at 08:35
Brian Karas
3,407 points


As a lawyer, you should know that the copyright to your program only protects the source code to that product. It does not protect the look and feel of that program. Anyone can copy that unless you have a design patent, or they are infringing on a trademark of yours.

See the 1996 US Supreme Court Decision on: Lotus Dev. Corp. v. Borland Int'l, Inc.

answered Nov 6 '11 at 11:47
Gary E
12,510 points

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Competition Copyright