This is a cross-post from stackoverflow; I was told you guys might be more knowlegable in this area...
I have an idea for a project which, ideally, I would like to eventually make money from.
Without getting into explicit detail, I am planning on developing a language which - when compiled (not sure if this is the correct terminology) - produces one or more known programming languages, such as (for example) Java.
Are there legal restrictions I could run into? Say I release this "solution" free of charge to normal users... could I license it for companies to use?
I am asking because I have been told that copyrights exist more-so to protect the "method" of arriving at a solution, as opposed to the solution itself, and - to me - this is exactly what I intend on doing?
In summary, I want to develop a high-level programming language which produces code written in other pre-existing programming languages as output. Am I able to legally charge money under certain circumstances for this technology?
As you can see by the prior work I mentioned, there is no copyright problem here. I would suggest you have a quick look at this post about types of intellectual property to get a clearer picture. Also have a look at the Copyright tag.
Where you might get into problems is with patents. Cross-compilers were a very busy commercial field some time ago, and it's entirely possible that some large companies hold patents on certain optimizations and general methods. Again, have a look at the Patent tag.
Performing a global, comprehensive search for prior patents is nearly impossible for a resource-weak startup. Most web- & software startups simply take a chance and launch a product without checking for prior patents.