Securing An Valuable Algorithm

I’d like to sell an algorithm and would like it secured so someone doesn’t just take the code and place it on the Internet and tons of research are gone.

Any ideas? Not opposed tho hardware solutions.
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Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
You need to consult with a patent lawyer.  This is an issue of law, not programming or technology.  By and large we're not lawyers.

I would point out the following, just as lagniappe:

Large parts of the world don't respect patent and copyright law, so protections obtained by patenting an algorithm are limited mostly to North America and the EU.  Lempel-Ziv-Welch was patented and the patent was notable for being ignored worldwide.

There's no way to secure compiled code because the host computer must be able to read it and execute it.

It follows that if the compiled code is readable by the host computer, it can be disassembled or decompiled back into pseudo-source.  At that point a competent analyst can reconstruct the original code from the decompilation.

The best as far as hardware protection is an outboard USB dongle containing a small processor and the unique code.  But if there's something truly useful in there, within a month somebody in Russia will cut the top off the unit, probe it down at the silicon die level and defeat all the protections as was done with satellite and cable TV hardware decryptors.

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dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
I don't believe algorithms can be patented.  But this also depends on your definition of algorithm.

btanExec ConsultantCommented:
May consider going for copyright based on expression of an algorithm in a source code file. It does not protect the algorithm itself so it does not prevent creating other expressions of the same algorithm in some other form, such as a different source code file. So protect your source codes instead. But the bigger threat that I see is the developers. You need to restrict to all access to the full source codes such that it is "bit and pieces". Tough to be developer proof as it may just come from them as creator though much of it is paper based like signing NDA. It can be a shared property though if needed too but as employee it belongs to the employer.

Coming back, the final package should have a licensing mechanism to restrict free "copy and paste" e.g. activation and binding to machine installed. Also depending on the code language consider a software to enforce this protect. See an instance on. NET.
jeffrey_b_leeAuthor Commented:
Thanks all! A software locking subscription service maybe the way to go.
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