South African Cricket Analyst questioned over alleged IP theft
The Protea performance analyst, Prasanna Agoram, has been questioned by police in Bangalore for allegedly infringing the Intellectual Property (IP) rights of a former employer.
Although the details of the allegation is quite sketchy at this stage, it appears as though former Indian cricketer, Vijay Bharadwaj, is alleging that Agoram stole the source code of performance analysis software owned by Sporting Mindz Technologies and used it to develop his own Mr Cricket software, which is an advanced performance analysis software which the Proteas are currently using. Agoram has however denied any wrongdoing.
According to The Indian Express, Agoram’s laptop, which contains the Mr Cricket software program, has been seized by the police and the program is currently being compared with the software of Sporting Mindz Technologies. Further details on the investigation will probably be revealed during the coming few weeks.
From the details available, it is clear that one of the main IP rights that is at issue is copyright. Copyright protects various types of works, including computer programs. Copyright usually comes into effect the moment it is created (i.e. there is generally no registration process) and protects against the unauthorised copying or adaptation of a copyrighted work (e.g. a computer program code).
Copyright does however have its limitations in that it, generally speaking, does not protect the underlying technical concept. Therefore if, for instance, someone creates a computer program independently, which works in the same manner as an existing program, then there will in all likelihood be no copyright infringement of the existing program.
At this stage, it is too early to comment on whether or not the allegations have any substance. Some of the key issues will however be whether Agoram was in possession of Sporting Mindz Technologies’ source code when he created the Mr Cricket software, and if so, what level of correlation there is between the two sets of source codes.