Countless books and articles on “Computer Law” have been published over the last 20 years. Much of this material is quite useful to the Embedded Systems Developer. However, these publications have typically focused on the “DP” type of software development: large database systems and personal productivity software. It is difficult to find legal commentary specifically addressed to embedded systems situations.
This is somewhat surprising when you consider the dollar-volume of embedded systems compared to that of DP software. In 1985, for the first time the total amount spent on automation per factory worker exceeded the amount spent per office worker. Industries in the United States are finally catching on to large scale automation, which includes embedded software. It is the nature of our culture that, as the dollar volume of transactions in a particular industry or segment increase, unfortunately, so do the legal problems.
This hands-on workshop will focus on how engineering managers can best assist counsel in resolving legal issues. The approach taken emphasizes the systematic use of a properly drafted contract to resolve disputes before they arise. Exercises based on actual situations will help participants learn to anticipate legal problems and take steps to avoid or minimize them.
We will first consider the broader legal issues confronted by any software or system developer, such as intellectual property rights and product liability. Later, we'll consider how to approach a number of contractual problems from the perspective of an independent consulting firm which provides custom embedded software to a variety of clients.