27 May, 2024

Software copyright in Ukraine

10 minutes

In today’s world, where software pervades every aspect of our lives, from mobile applications to complex artificial intelligence systems, copyright and intellectual property issues are of particular importance. Software developers invest a huge amount of time, effort and creativity in creating innovative solutions. Their work, no less than literary masterpieces or works of art, deserves reliable protection.

Polikarpov Law Firm, a Ukrainian law firm specialising in intellectual property protection, understands the importance of protecting the rights of software developers and helps them to protect their valuable assets.

Today we’ll talk about how to protect your “code”.

Section 1: Copyright protection for software

Imagine that you have spent months, maybe even years, developing a unique piece of software. You have invested your talent, knowledge, and sleepless nights in it, and you have brought your creativity and intellectual potential to life. And now your product is ready, it can change the world, make it better, more efficient, more interesting. But what if someone decides to copy your code, appropriate your work, and profit from it? This is where software protection comes in, ensuring that your rights as an author are protected.

Ukrainian legislation recognises software as an object of copyright, providing developers with certain rights and guarantees. In this section, we will take a closer look at what software copyright is and how to protect software copyright in Ukraine. You will learn what rights the software author has, how they are protected by law, and what mechanisms exist to protect your rights from infringement.

1.1. Software as an object of copyright

At first glance, software may seem like a set of complex algorithms and lines of code, far removed from creativity and art. However, Ukrainian legislation recognises software as an object of copyright, guaranteeing the protection of the rights of its creators.

According to the Law of Ukraine “On Copyright and Related Rights”, software is considered to be an object of copyright, which is protected similarly to literary works. This means that software creators have the exclusive right to control the use, copying, distribution, and modification of their product.

  • Originality: in order for software to be protected by copyright, it must be original, i.e. created by the author independently.
  • Fixation: the program code must be fixed on a tangible medium, such as a hard drive, flash drive or cloud storage.

It is important to understand that copyright protects the expression of an idea embodied in software, not the idea itself. For example, the idea of creating a photo processing program is not subject to copyright protection, but the specific implementation of this idea in the form of the program code will be protected.

1.2. Rights of the software author

Software copyright provides developers with a wide range of rights that guarantee them control over their creation and the ability to receive remuneration for their work. Under Ukrainian law, a software author has the following rights:

  • Right to distribute: The author has the exclusive right to determine how his software will be distributed – through sale, licensing, or any other means.
  • Right to modify: only the author has the right to change, add to, or modify his code in any way.
  • Commercial rights: the author has the right to receive remuneration for the use of his software by others, for example, through the sale of licences or royalties.

In addition, the author has moral rights such as

  • The right to authorship: The right to be recognised as the author of software and to prevent others from taking credit for it.
  • The right to the inviolability of the work: The right to prohibit any changes to the software without its consent.

The rights of the software author are reliably protected by law in Ukraine. Violation of these rights entails administrative and criminal liability.

Section 2: Copyright registration

You’ve created a unique piece of software, invested your time, knowledge and creativity in it. Now the question arises: is it necessary to register copyright for software? Is it worth spending time and resources on this procedure?

In Ukraine, copyright registration for software is not mandatory, as copyright arises automatically at the moment of creation of a work. Nevertheless, registration of copyright for a website or a program provides developers with a number of advantages and additional guarantees.

In this section, we will consider where to register a software copyright, what is the cost of registering a software copyrightand what benefits does registration provide.

2.1. Is it necessary to register copyright in software?

In Ukraine, copyright registration for software is not mandatory. Copyright arises automatically at the moment of creation of the work, i.e. from the moment you write the code. This means that you, as the author, receive all rights to your software from the very beginning, without any additional formalities.

However, copyright registration provides developers with a number of advantages:

  • Simplifying the proof of authorship: A registration certificate is an official document that confirms your authorship of the software. This greatly simplifies the process of proving your rights in case of disputes.
  • Strengthening the legal position: registration creates a presumption of authorship, i.e. until proven otherwise, you are considered to be the author of the software.
  • Protection against unfair competition: registration allows you to protect your rights against unfair competition and prevent illegal use of your software by others.

The disadvantage of registration is the time and cost associated with filing an application and paying the state fee.

Is it worth registering a copyright for software? It depends on the specific circumstances. If your software is unique and has commercial potential, registration can be an important step to protect your rights.

2.2. Copyright registration procedure

If you decide to register a copyright for your software, you need to contact the Ukrainian National Office of Intellectual Property and Innovation (UNIPI). The registration procedure includes the following steps:

  1. Preparation of the application: you need to fill out an application for copyright registration, providing all the necessary information about you as the author and about the software.
  2. Submission of documents The following documents must be attached to the application:
    • Software description: a detailed description of the software, its functions, features, and principles of operation.
    • Source code: part or all of the source code of the application.
  3. Payment of the state fee: the amount of the state fee depends on the number of authors and the volume of documentation.
  4. Application consideration: The Ukrainian National Agency for Intellectual Property Rights considers the application and documents within two months.
  5. Certificate issuance: in case of a positive decision, you will be issued a certificate of copyright registration.

The cost of registering a copyright for software includes state fees and possible additional costs for the services of a patent attorney, if you need their help.

Copyright registration gives your software additional protection and makes it easier to enforce your rights in the event of a dispute.

Section 3: Copyright protection in practice

Creating unique software is only the first step. The next important step is protecting your software copyright from infringement and illegal use.

Unfortunately, cases of software copyright infringement are not uncommon in Ukraine. Illegal copying, distribution and use of other people’s code can cause significant losses to developers, depriving them of remuneration for their work and undermining their reputation.

In this section, we will consider what to do if software copyright is infringed, what methods of protection against unauthorised use exist, and what liability is imposed for software copyright infringement.

3.1 Protection against unauthorised use

Software copyright protection against unauthorised use is a set of measures aimed at preventing the illegal copying, distribution and use of your software.

There are several effective methods of protection against unauthorised use:

  • Licensing: Granting licences to use your software to others under certain conditions. Licences clearly define the rights and restrictions on the use of the software, preventing its illegal distribution.
  • Technical protection: the use of special technologies such as encryption, copy protection, watermarks, and others that make it difficult for unauthorised access to and use of the code.
  • Non-disclosure agreements: entering into agreements with partners, employees, and others who have access to your software that obligate them to keep it confidential and not disclose information about the software to third parties.
  • Copyright Registration: As we mentioned, copyright registration gives your software additional protection and makes it easier to enforce your rights in case of disputes.

Using a combination of these methods will help you protect your software from unauthorised use and ensure that you are rewarded for your work.

3.2. Protection of copyright in court

If your copyright in software has been infringed, you have the right to take legal action to protect your interests.

What to do if the copyright in software is infringed?

  1. Collecting evidence: The first step is to collect evidence of infringement of your rights. This can be screenshots, photos, videos, documents confirming the illegal copying, distribution or use of your software.
  2. Applying to the infringer: you can try to resolve the situation peacefully by contacting the infringer with a request to stop the illegal actions and compensate for the damage caused.
  3. Filing a claim in court: if no agreement is reached with the infringer, you have the right to file a copyright claim in court.

What evidence is needed to protect copyright in court?

  • Certificate of copyright registration (if any).
  • The source code of your software.
  • Documents confirming the date of creation of the software.
  • Evidence of unauthorised copying, distribution or use of your software.

What are the consequences for copyright infringers?

Liability for software copyright infringement in Ukraine can be both civil and criminal. The court may order the infringer to:

  • Stop the illegal use of the software.
  • Compensate for the damage caused.
  • Pay the fine.
  • In some cases, the offender may be held criminally liable.

Polikarpov Law Firm has extensive experience in software copyright protection in Ukraine. We provide qualified legal assistance to developers who have faced infringement of their rights.


In today’s world, where software plays a key role in all spheres of life, copyright protection is of particular importance. Ukrainian law provides developers with effective tools to protect their rights, ranging from the automatic creation of copyright at the time of software creation to the possibility of registering copyright and protecting their interests in court.

Understanding your rights, using various methods of protection against unauthorised use and timely seeking qualified legal assistance will allow you to protect your creations from infringement, ensure fair remuneration for your work and promote innovation in Ukraine.

Is it necessary to register copyright for software in Ukraine?

In Ukraine, registration of copyright for software is not mandatoryis mandatory.The Law of Ukraine “On Copyright and Related Rights” guarantees automatic protection of copyright from the moment of creation of a work, i.e. from the moment of writing the program code.This means that you, as a developer, automatically receive the full range of rights to your software product without any formalities.

However, copyright registration provides you with a number of significant advantages:

  • Simplified proof of authorship: The copyright registration certificate is an official document that confirms your authorship of the software. This greatly simplifies the process of protecting your rights in case of disputes, since you do not have to additionally prove the fact of creating the programme.
  • Presumption of authorship: Registration creates a presumption of authorship, i.e. until proven otherwise, you are recognised as the author of the software.This makes it easier to protect your rights in court, as the defendant will have to provide convincing evidence that you are not the author.
  • More effective protection against unfair competition: Copyright registration is an effective tool in the fight against unfair competition.It allows you to quickly respond to cases of illegal use of your software and prevent violations of your rights.

So, although registration of copyright for software in Ukraine is not mandatory, it provides additional guarantees and facilitates the protection of their rights;it provides developers with additional guarantees and facilitates the protection of their rights in case of disputes.

What if someone uses my software without my permission?

Detecting unauthorised use of your software can be confusing. It’s important to act decisively and carefully:

  1. Collection of evidence:
  • Save any evidence that confirms the fact of illegal use of your software:
    • Screenshots of web pages where your product is distributed without your permission.
    • Photo and video materials.
    • Advertisements or commercial offers where your software appears.
    • Correspondence with the offender (e-mail, messages in messengers).
    • Information about the accounts of users who use illegal copies of your software.
  1. Identification of the offender:
  • If the identity of the offender is unknown, try to establish it:
    • Analysis of the collected evidence (IP addresses, nicknames, contact information).
    • Contacting hosting providers or administrators of websites where illegal copies of your software are placed.
  1. Pre-trial settlement:
  • Contact the offender with a written complaint:
    • Clearly state the essence of the infringement and the requirements (cease illegal use, remove illegal copies, compensate for damages).
    • Attach copies of documents confirming your copyright in the software.
    • Set a clear deadline for responding and fulfilling the requirements.
  1. Appeal to the court:
  • If the pre-trial settlement did not give any results, or if the damages caused by copyright infringement are significant, apply to the court with a claim for copyright protection.
  • To do this, you will need the help of a qualified lawyer who specialises in intellectual property matters.

Important: The sooner you react to copyright infringement, the more chances you have to successfully protect your interests.Do not ignore the illegal use of your software, as it may cause damage to your reputation and financial interests.

What is the liability for software copyright infringement in Ukraine?

Ukrainian legislation provides for strict liability for infringement of copyright in software. Depending on the severity of the infringement, the perpetrators may be brought to justice:

  1. Civil liability:
  • Recovery of damages: The violator is obliged to compensate the author of the Software for all losses caused by the illegal use of his product (lost profits, reputational losses)..
  • Payment of compensation: The court may order the infringer to pay compensation to the author of the software for each case of copyright infringement, regardless of the amount of damages.The amount of compensation can range from 10 to 50 thousand minimum wages (as of 2023 – from 67,000 to 335,000 UAH)..
  • Collection of counterfeit copies: The court may make a decision on the seizure and destruction of all illegally made copies of software.
  1. Administrative responsibility:
  • Penalty: The guilty persons may be fined for the illegal distribution, reproduction and use of copyrighted material..
  • Confiscation: Counterfeit copies of software, as well as equipment used for their production and distribution, may be confiscated..
  1. Criminal liability:
  • Criminal liability arises in cases of illegal use of copyright objects with the purpose of obtaining income in large or especially large amounts..
  • Punishment: fines, correctional labour, and in some cases – imprisonment are provided.

Important: Ukrainian courts are becoming more and more picky about cases of copyright infringement on software.Therefore, the risks for infringers are constantly growing.

How much does it cost to register copyright in software and what documents are required?

Registration of copyright for software in Ukraine is a paid procedure.The cost of registration depends on several factors, including:

  • Number of applicants: Registration in favour of several co-authors will cost more money.
  • Scope and complexity of the software: For complex software a more detailed description may be required, which affects the amount of state duty..
  • Term of application consideration: There is a possibility of accelerated consideration of the application for an additional fee.

Estimated cost of copyright registration for software in Ukraine (as of 2023):

  • Basic price: from 1500 UAH.
  • Additional payments: additional payments for acceleration of application processing and services of patent attorney (if you use his services) are possible ..

Documents required for registration of copyright for software:

  1. Application for copyright registration: Filled in according to the established form, contains information about the author (co-authors) and software ..
  2. Identification documents of the author (co-authors): Passport,  identification code.
  3. Description of the software:Must include:
    • The name of the software.
    • Functional purpose.
    • Description of the features of the software code that identify you as the author.
  4. Source code or part of it:
    • It is provided in electronic form on a storage medium (disc, USB flash drive).
    • The amount of code to be submitted should be sufficient to identify your authorship (recommended not less than 3000 characters).


  • Contact a patent attorney: Although you can file an application on your own, it is recommended to use the services of a patent attorney who specialises in intellectual property issues. This will help you avoid mistakes when preparing documents and save your time.
  • Keep all documents related to the development of your software: These may include early versions of the code, design layouts, and correspondence with colleagues and customers.Such documents can become additional evidence of your authorship in case of disputes.
  1. Law of Ukraine “On Protection of Rights to Industrial Designs”. Link.
  2. Hague Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs. Link

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