Thales Blog

Software Protection Vs. IP Protection: Protect Your Property

March 14, 2020

Two terms we often see confused in conversations with our clients are ‘software protection’ and ‘IP protection’. Both are critical components of any software development and monetization strategy and have a significant impact on your software development ROI.  So, what are they, and how do they differ?

Software Protection


The term software protection is typically used to refer to protection of software against piracy, overuse, and reverse engineering. The purpose of software protection is to protect the commercial value of the software, regardless of whether any intellectual property contained within it has been compromised. This requires a combination of techniques related to anti-piracy, licensing, and anti-reverse engineering. One major advance in this area has been the integration of white-box cryptography – widely considered to be the “silver bullet” to cryptographic key discovery vulnerabilities – into the Sentinel portfolio of solutions.

IP Protection

The term IP protection, on the other hand, refers solely to security against the loss of intellectual property. In the case of a software application, that could mean preventing someone from stealing the underlying algorithm that controls a particular feature or functionality of the application. IP protection for software usually employs techniques related to data loss prevention (DLP), prevention of source code leakage, physical security/logical security, obfuscation of executables or data, and so on.

Ideally, a software licensing solution that provides IP protection should do the following:

  • Deliver intellectual property protection for your embedded software applications and application data files
  • Ensure that the algorithms, trade secrets, and professional know-how embedded in the software are secured against hackers
  • Achieve high-level security and access control for your entire product suite

It may not always be necessary to implement anti-piracy and licensing in your product, but more often than not, you will have the need for IP protection.

This blog post is part of our Software Monetization 101 series, which examines commonly misunderstood terminology in the software protection, licensing, and entitlement management space.

Discover the advantages of intellectual property protection, visit Software IP Protection.

Learn more about Sentinel LDK, our out-of-the-box software protection, licensing, and entitlement management solution.