The Protection of Computer Programs

Name:Payroll S.A.
Country / Territory:Chile
IP right(s):Copyright and Related Rights, Trademarks
Date of publication:July 23, 2010
Last update:July 11, 2012

Background

Payroll S.A. is a Chilean private firm working in the area of human resources (HR) management and outsourcing of payroll processes. The firm was set up in 1991 by Mr. Rodrigo Castro – an economist by profession, and his father – a civil engineer with a long career in enterprise management. From a local, family-owned company, Payroll S.A. gradually became a pioneer in providing HR management services with expanded operations in many countries and a large clientele.

Payroll S.A. developed software for the management of human resources of firms and institutions. It includes comprehensive solutions covering all aspects relating to staff management, such as payment of wages. Considering the importance of the software to the operation and economic life of the firm, Payroll attaches great importance to the protection of its intellectual property rights (IPRs) and has taken proactive steps accordingly.

Copyright

As a first step in intellectual property (IP) protection, the firm undertook the voluntary registration of copyright for its software not only in Chile, but also in Argentina, Paraguay Peru and Uruguay. The software products of the firm are also protected with an (encrypted) logic key, which ensures that the product is linked to the user's hard disk and cannot be moved or copied.

Trademarks

The firm also has two trademarks, which are registered with the Chilean Industrial Property Department. However, the trademark of the word “Payroll” is not registered in other countries (i.e. Argentina, Paraguay Peru and Uruguay) where the software is copyrighted, since the word is considered as a generic name in those countries.

Partnerships and Franchising

At present, Payroll has fully-owned operations in Chile and Argentina, with distributions in Uruguay, Peru, Brazil and Colombia. Aiming at becoming a comprehensive provider of human capital management services, Payroll has expanded its services by acquiring 50 percent of CDGroup, a company specializing in consulting and training of HR management. Payroll has also formed a strategic alliance with Carey & Allende Abogados to provide advice and training to clients on legal matters as well as on pension-related issues. Additionally, the National Fund for Technology and Production Development (FONTEC) is providing 60 per cent of the funding for the development of new software by Payroll S.A.

Licensing

The software and its updates are developed internally by the Enterprise Development Department of firm. However, certain tools used in its production (programming module and languages) come from outside under a licensing contract with other private firms. Payroll S.A. transfers its technology to other companies by granting licenses with the necessary updates.

Business Results

Since its inception, Payroll S.A. has continued to grow, thanks to its quality products and services, which are marked not only by the increase in its number of clients, but also by the expansion of its partnerships. The operation of Payroll has expanded to several South American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. The company currently employs 250 people. The outsourcing service has grown significantly, with 500 companies seeking Payroll’s services for processing the data of over 110,000 employees, while the data of an additional 61,400 employees are processed under another scheme known as ASP services. As many as 5,000 companies are currently using the HR management software from Payroll S.A.

Efficient IP Management Leading to the Growth and Development of a Business

Payroll’s success is driven by the efficient management of its IP rights. The software that Payroll developed is the backbone of its business operations. Computer programs, however, are one of the most vulnerable targets of IP infringement. Payroll has been smart enough to consistently protect its IP and use it in its advantage for the growth and development of the company.