Can You Patent a Software Design?
A software design can be patented if it relates to a physical device. To obtain patent protection for a software design, it must be new, ornamental, and not a copy of an existing design. The design must not be obvious to the public. The patent also cannot be tied to the functionality of the software. If your software design falls under this category, you can file a patent application. There are a few requirements for obtaining patent protection for software designs.
Unpatentable software design
Whether or not a software design is patentable depends on its specific characteristics. A computer program is an abstract idea if it solves a problem that is “necessarily rooted in computer technology.” The patent eligibility requirement must be met for the software to be considered patentable, and claims must not preempt every application of the idea. In some cases, this is not possible. The Federal Circuit has ruled in several cases that certain types of software are patentable.
The patentability of a computer program has long been in dispute, and the debates on the subject are rife with misinformation and confusion. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently issued an en banc decision in the case of Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, which was widely regarded as a mishmash and confusing decision. The court’s one-paragraph majority opinion threw the patent doctrine into disarray. However, a concurring opinion from Judge Lourie argues that computer programs are unpatentable.
Requirements for obtaining a software patent
There are many requirements for obtaining a software patent. Essentially, these requirements are the same as those for other kinds of patents. The claims must be definite and novel, and the specification must describe the claimed subject matter in sufficient detail that a person skilled in the art could create and implement it. Listed below are some specific requirements for a software patent. Keep reading to learn more about the process of obtaining a software patent.
The first step in obtaining a software patent is filing a patent application. The USPTO will assign a Patent Examiner to review and analyze the application to determine whether the claimed invention is patentable. Once the examiner has reviewed the application, he will issue a report on its patentability. He may issue rejections or legal objections as well. These rejections are called an “Office Action.” This document will inform the applicant of any modifications that need to be made to the patent application.
To receive a software patent, an abstract idea must have certain characteristics. For example, if the software solves a problem that is “necessarily rooted in computer technology,” it may qualify for patent protection. However, it must solve that problem in a novel manner or contain claims that do not preempt every application of the idea. The third requirement is that the claimed invention must be practical, such as making the computer faster.
Software patents are similar to regular patents. They require the same information and criteria. Software patent applications must include good flowcharts showing each step in the process. In addition to the flowchart, the application must provide a detailed description of the code itself, as well as the software’s interaction with machine hardware. The software must also be described as “usable” for the purpose of processing data.
Before pursuing the patent process, it’s important to conduct a patent search of similar programs. Patent searches can help determine whether the software you want to protect is unique, and whether the process will be worthwhile. Obviously, if software is already in use and there are numerous patents on the same topic, you are unlikely to receive a broad level of protection. Furthermore, the patent process can be costly and time-consuming. For this reason, it is critical to seek the advice of a registered patent practitioner when developing software.
Cost of obtaining a software patent
The cost of obtaining a software patent will likely depend on the complexity of your invention and the type of protection you wish to achieve. A law firm will typically charge anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000 to conduct a prior art search, which identifies any published or issued patent applications that are similar to yours. This will help you determine whether there are any barriers to registration of your patent, and can also give you an idea of the scope of your patent protection. In addition, this step will take time and knowledge to complete, so it is wise to hire an attorney to help you out.
Once you have your software ready, the next step is to file a provisional patent. This can be accomplished at UpCounsel for between $1,500 and $2,000. In general, it is better to apply for a software patent than to simply release it for free. It is possible for patents to expire after a few years, meaning that your software may be outdated when you get it. Further, a patent can be worthless if it is not enforceable in court.
To secure a software patent, you must file a non-provisional patent application within a year of filing a provisional one. This application requires you to describe the functionality of the software. In addition, a design patent can protect the look and feel of a software interface. A design patent can be filed alongside a utility patent application. To get a software patent, you will also need to pay for a patent attorney, which will cost you between $2,000 and $5,000.
The process of obtaining a software patent requires a thorough search of the prior art in the field of your invention. You will need to hire a patent attorney to review the results, and a patent searcher to examine any accepted or pending patents in the relevant countries. During this time, you can test your software and search for investors before submitting a full application for patent protection. The fee for a software patent is non-refundable, but it helps cover the costs of examining your patent application.
Time it takes to obtain a software patent
A patent application can take anywhere from three to 48 months to receive a final determination. While this average is less than two years, the amount of time can vary widely depending on the complexity of the application, the number of offices involved, and the applicant’s age and health. While expedited programs can speed up the process, they do not guarantee success. Here are some general rules to consider:
First, if your invention involves a computer program, you will need to file a patent application with the USPTO. This process usually takes 30 to 120 days, but can take longer if the software is complex. Choosing an experienced patent attorney is recommended as they can help you navigate the process. Once your application is submitted to the USPTO, it will be assigned a patent pending status for between thirty and 120 days.
Second, it is important to understand that software patents take multiple years to get approved and published. However, they are a great advantage to software developers, who can claim a patent pending status and attract investors’ attention. This status demonstrates the novelty of the technology and depth of resources. If you are developing an innovative software product, securing a software patent may be the key to making your product a success.
After you apply for a patent, you will need to wait. The patent office will conduct a patent search on your invention, even if you have already conducted a patent search on your own. If you have been rejected, you will then need to wait another two to three years for the patent office to examine your application. This can be very frustrating and time-consuming, but the end result will be worth it.