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Robert McEwen, Esq.
Robert McEwen, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
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Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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Body composition Legal Question

Resolved Question:

I am writing a calculator program that calculates total body fat. I have gathered most of the information, thus far from a singular text book that lists various body composition formulas (math equations) that have been gathered from researchers over the past 50 years. If I was to charge for this application would I be required to give a portion of the profits to each reference as well as the book? Additionally, am I required to get permission to adapt their equations?

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Robert McEwen, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Robert McEwen, Esq. :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

Robert McEwen, Esq. :

While it would be advisable to get permission, it's likely not a necessity. Ideas are not copyrightable, only particular expressions thereof. In the case of a mathematical formula, it could be argued that since there is a standardized notation for expressing mathematical concepts, the idea and the expression are inseparable, therefore copyright protection does not apply. This is the "idea-expression" divide.

Robert McEwen, Esq. :

Now it's possible that the idea could be patented. Patents last for 20 years, and so you can do a patent search (Google Patent search here: https://www.google.com/?tbm=pts) over the last 20 years, and if there is such a patent for that formula, you might want to get permission.

Robert McEwen, Esq. :

Since you don't have to have permission to use the equations, you don't have to get permission to adapt them or change them.

Robert McEwen, Esq. :

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate this answer either a 3, 4, or 5 (good or better). Please note that I do not get any credit for this answer unless and until you rate it that way. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

Robert McEwen, Esq. :

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

Robert McEwen, Esq. :

Are you there? Please note that I am still here, awaiting your response. Should I continue to await your response, or may I assist the other customers that are waiting?

Robert McEwen, Esq. :

My apologies, but I must assist the other customers that are waiting. If there's nothing else, please rate this answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better) AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. If you feel that I have gone above and beyond in this answer (my average answer is about 10 minutes) bonuses are greatly appreciated. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!

Customer:

Im sorry about the delay in response, this is my first just answers question and I'm just getting into the rythem of things. I really appreciate your answer and I suppose my only remaining question is regarding what generated my initial concern. The book repeatedly prints that the equations are printed by permission of "..." this led me to believe that it was a requirement in order to publish, print, or use the equations.

Customer:

I appreciate your quick response and will be giving you a 5. Thank you and All the Best, Sean

Robert McEwen, Esq. :

There's not a requirement, but to the extent that you're reproducing something that requires creativity to put information together (rather than the "facts" themselves) that would require permission. And it would be a good idea to get permission (so that you could give attribution) but it's not a necessity when it's a "formula".

Customer:

Brilliant, Thank you!

Robert McEwen, Esq. :

My pleasure.If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

Customer:

More than happy to rate you 5 out of 5.

Robert McEwen, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 11689
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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