How Do I Get a US Software Patent?
In this article I will briefly discuss the basics of filing a software patent application, what to expect in the examination process, and how to prepare a patent application. Then I will cover Pre-filing, Track One programs, and the Claims that must be included in a patent application. In the next article, I will cover Accelerated Examination and the Track Two program. Finally, I will explain how to file a software patent application.
Pre-filing a software patent application
There are some advantages to pre-filing a US software patent application. These benefits include a more expedient application process and reduced costs. In addition, filing provisional applications is a low-risk way to obtain an early priority date. The authors of the guest post explain how it works. Read on to learn more. Listed below are the benefits and drawbacks of pre-filing a US software patent application.
Patentability: In order to qualify for a patent, your invention must be new and innovative. There are numerous ways to demonstrate this. For example, you could patent a self-referential lookup table that improves a database system’s memory configuration. Alternatively, you can patent software that archives digital images over a cellular network. Generally, software is patentable if you have made substantial improvements to it or can prove its uniqueness.
Patentability: While a software patent can protect an abstract idea, it could reduce the amount of innovation if the software is already in use. Moreover, software requires a variety of interdependencies and dependencies, and there may be no universally-accepted definition of what constitutes an abstract idea. Because of these interdependencies, it is impossible to determine which software is patentable. This means that you may have to compromise on some of your ideas to ensure the protection of your idea.
A legal team specializing in patents is a good way to protect your intellectual property. You can choose an attorney for software patent or copyright protection. A good IP attorney will provide legal advice and walk you through the entire patent application process. The US Patent and Trademark Office serves both District Courts and the Supreme Court. A good software patent attorney will know where to file and defend your patent. An IP attorney can help you protect your software innovations and ensure that your brand remains protected.
Track One program
The USPTO’s Track One program allows anyone to request an accelerated examination, and there are a few requirements to be met. For large entities, this process costs $4000; for small entities, the fee is $2000. The USPTO guarantees examination within one year. However, it’s important to note that this program is not for everyone. Applicants should prepare for a grueling examination.
There are hundreds of thousands of US software patents in circulation. However, not all of these patents would pass the “Crystal City test” of computer magazine knowledge. Thankfully, this program allows you to apply for an early US allowance and implement a cost-effective global filing strategy. Once your US software patent application has been granted, you can then file a separate application in a number of PPH participating countries. Once your US patent has been granted, your application will be reviewed faster by the patent offices of other PPH countries.
Another benefit of the Track One program is that you can protect your invention by licensing it to third parties. Many patent holders will not offer licenses to others without first offering a license to them. However, a license is an option. One example is a family business that makes gambling machinery. The other company was threatening to shut down the family business. Fortunately, the software rights league stepped in and helped them get the patents they needed.
The US Supreme Court dealt a blow to software patents in 2014 in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank. The Court ruled that “fancy computer language does not justify patent protection.” The case of this software patent has resulted in hundreds of other patents being invalidated under Section 101 of US patent laws. It’s crucial to understand the rules regarding patenting software. Using the Track One program will ensure the best possible outcome for you.
Accelerated Examination program
In 2006, the US Patent Office introduced an Accelerated Examination program for US software patent applications. Qualifying applicants will be required to submit a thorough pre-examination search report and discussion of closest-known art to the subject matter of the patent. The USPTO hopes to have a final disposition of the case within 12 months of the filing date. This program is not for everyone. It requires extra work from the inventor and attorney.
An accelerated examination application requires a comprehensive technical description of the claimed invention, identification of limitations in the claims disclosed by reference, and a concise statement of the utility of the invention. The applicant must also pay for a prior-art search and preparation of an examination support document. The process is more expensive, but the benefits outweigh the additional costs. In addition, applicants can expedite the examination process by preparing an accelerated examination application in-house.
While the Accelerated Examination program for US software patent applications requires additional work, it does give applicants the opportunity to obtain a final disposition in a faster timeframe than they would if they filed an application outside of this program. In 2015, the average pendency from Petition Decision to Grant of Final Disposition was nine months, which is a significant difference from today’s speedy patent-filing process.
The age of the inventor is a major consideration. The older the inventor, the greater the opportunity for free special treatment. This means that older inventors can avoid the 12-month accelerated examination program. The examination process for older inventors is more time-consuming, though. As a result, the USPTO has improved the customer service and international partnerships. So, when considering an Accelerated Examination program, older inventors must consider the time and cost savings associated with the program.
Claims that must be included in a patent application
If your invention has a European equivalent, you may want to include a few European-style features as well. Nevertheless, U.S. patent attorneys often don’t understand the concept of “intermediate generalisation,” which means taking a feature separately from the embodiment. A European software patent application may require some additional features, such as packaging. A European software patent application may have a cost difference with its U.S. counterpart.
In addition to prior art disclosures, claims may also be rejected due to their form and compliance with applicable patent laws. If the claims do not accurately describe the invention, or they are directed to non-patentable subject matter, the Examiner may reject them. This is a major drawback to filing a US software patent application. Hence, patent applicants must provide detailed explanations for any claim rejection.
If your software invention involves “abstract ideas,” the claims must be sufficiently detailed to transform the idea into a patent-eligible application. To qualify for patent protection, your idea must solve a problem “necessarily rooted” in computer technology, and the claimed elements must not preempt every possible application of the idea. As with any patent application, the claims should also be concise.
For each independent claim, it is important to use the right terminology. If a particular claim references another, it should be grouped with that claim. Similarly, if the same claim has multiple dependent claims, the claim should be grouped with the referenced claim. If more than one dependent claim refers to another, there should be line indentation between each claim. Adding more claims may not be worth the extra space, but it will increase the likelihood of the patent application being accepted.
Finding a lawyer for a software patent
If you have an innovative idea for a new software program, you should consult a patent attorney. Patent applications for high-tech products can move quickly, and it is important to ensure that you are the sole inventor of the program. An attorney should have a neutral mindset when assessing a new invention. In addition to technical knowledge, a software patent attorney should be humble, questioning, and open-minded.
Software and computer technology are two industries that are booming. New, innovative software is changing how we communicate, store information, and conduct business. The inventions that people create in these fields can become valuable assets for individuals and companies. Since software is created by humans, it must be new and non-obvious in order to qualify for a patent. For this reason, software developers should seek the counsel of a Boston software patent lawyer.
A lawyer with experience in software patents is a must for a successful US software patent application. This type of patent attorney will force you to describe your invention rather than assuming you know nothing about it. This allows your patent attorney to write a bulletproof patent application, leaving no stone unturned. If your software is not yet ready for a patent, an attorney with business experience will be able to determine if your product is truly novel.
There are several types of US software patents. Some are eligible for a patent, including a self-referential lookup table that improves the memory configuration of a database system. Other examples of software patents include software that archives digital images over a cellular network. This is a complex process that requires an attorney with expertise in the area. A lawyer for a US software patent can help guide you through the legal process and ensure you get the protection you deserve.