Landmark court of appeal decision on computer software


Chew Kherk Ying and Jeffir Cheong

In 2011, Readsoft Aktiebolag and Readsoft Asia Sdn Bhd initiated High Court proceedings for copyright infringement against Petraware Solutions Sdn Bhd (Petraware) for purportedly infringing Readsoft’s data-capturing software, known as FORMS 5-3.

Petraware is the creator and distributor of a similar market data-capturing software, known as pTransformer. 

Readsoft’s claim was not for any infringement of its source or object codes, and the dispute in this case was not concerned with the copyright of both codes. Rather, Readsoft claimed that Petraware had infringed the graphic user interface (GUI), the system flow of the modules, and the terms employed in its FORMS 5-3 software.

On September 30, 2012, the High Court judge delivered the judgment in favour of Readsoft, on the grounds that the literary components of a computer program are capable of being protected and that there were sufficient objective similarities between the FORMS 5-3 GUI, system flow and terms and the pTransformer software’s corresponding elements.

copyright infringement, computer software, GUI