How Do I Patent Software?
When you are writing a new program, you may be wondering: how do I patent software? The process is relatively simple. But if you want to make sure that your program is unique and not copied, you will need to research the patents that are out there. Some patent applications remain secret for 18 months, but they become public after that time. If you release your program without being aware of a patent, you risk being sued for infringement.
How to patent software based on invention criteria is a question many developers ask themselves. Most of them argue that software shouldn’t be patentable because 99 percent of it is not novel or nonobvious. The law requires all inventions to be both nonobvious and novel. This is an important issue to discuss and Brad Feld’s article summarizes the main criticisms of software patents. How do developers address these objections?
Step one of the invention analysis process is to determine whether the claimed invention is directed towards an abstract idea. The abstract idea can be a concept, fundamental economic practices, or even a mathematical idea. Most business methods and software inventions fall under the abstract idea category. Step two of the analysis determines whether the claimed invention limits the use of that idea with a specific technology or improves another technology. The third step involves determining whether the claim relates to the function of the computer.
A software patent application must also describe the overall architecture of the computer. The software must have a computer interface. The software must also be a new, unique product that does not appear obvious to average industry workers. In addition, the disclosure must be comprehensive and detailed enough to satisfy the USPTO’s criteria. If the software is a software program that has a business function, it must have a business application and be tied to another machine.
Software inventions that are designed to automate tasks are not patentable. In addition to the software itself, scientific theorems and abstract ideas are not patentable. In the US, patentable software inventions can solve a computing challenge in an unconventional manner. The two-step process in evaluating software patent applications is explained in detail in the October 2019 PEG. If you feel that your invention meets the two-step process, then you should consider patenting it.
The costs of filing for a patent vary by country. The United States, which has more than 300 million people, costs the least. However, Europe can be ten times more expensive. The main cost in international filing is annual annuities, which can run up to $1,000 per country. This is in addition to the filing fees. Patent software also comes with an option to finance the filing. BlueIronIP, a company based in Boston, offers financing for the filing of patents.
The costs of a patent application range from $30k to $50k over the life of the patent in the US. The process takes several years, and the patent holder must invest considerable time and money in the application and defense of the patent. A provisional patent can help you get started on your path to a software patent. By preparing your own information and drafting your application, you can avoid the high cost of hiring a patent attorney.
Because of the inherent complexity of software patent applications, the costs of filing for a patent are higher than for other types of inventions. A simple software invention might cost around $7500 to file. However, a complex one can run up to $17,000. This range is comparable for biochemical and medical imaging systems. Those looking to patent software should expect to pay a few thousand dollars. And don’t forget to budget for legal fees.
As with any legal process, experience matters. And in patent prosecution, a lawyer with experience will be invaluable. A patent application with a weak foundation is unlikely to receive broad protection. It may even fail to attract enough funding from investors and never get off the ground. That’s why start-up companies in biotechnology and software may have to pay 1.5 to two times these figures. The costs of patent software will depend on the complexity of the invention and its corresponding application.
Getting a patent
When applying for a patent for software, you need to describe the general architecture of the computer. You must also include one flow chart that illustrates the overall working of the software. You must also include flow charts of the routines and subroutines contained within the software. If you don’t include these three important pieces of information, you’ll be at a major disadvantage. Read on for more tips. If you think your software is innovative, you should seek patent protection for it.
Software patents are challenging and not for beginners. However, there are steps to take in order to ensure that your application is successful. One way to ensure that your application is accepted is to consult a patent lawyer. UpCounsel only accepts the top 5 percent of attorneys and their average experience is 14 years. Their software patent lawyers have worked with Google and other leading companies. If you are unsure, they can offer free consultations.
Often, computer programmers believe that computer code is the end all-be-all of a software program. While this is true, software is much more than a language or set of instructions. A complete description of your invention and your patent application should make your software eligible for patent protection. A complete description and a careful analysis will ensure that your application will stand up to scrutiny. And the cost of the application will go up substantially.
Software applicants need to have an accurate understanding of the overall design of their invention. The design of the software is critical to getting the best protection. In order to define the design of your invention, you must consider different perspectives. The more perspectives you have, the better chance you have of achieving a patent. When you’re able to do this, your software will get the protection it deserves. If you can do this, the process won’t be too difficult.
Filing a provisional application
A provisional application to patent software must meet certain requirements to be eligible for a U.S. patent. It must be submitted in the name of all inventors and disclose the invention. If the disclosure is incomplete, a provisional patent application is invalid and is not enforceable. In the United States, provisional patents are granted to products and processes that meet certain criteria, such as enablement and best mode. You can find more information about filing a provisional application on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website.
To file a provisional application, you must first draft a detailed description of your invention. The description may include a flow chart or details of the app’s functionality. Many ideas crystallize during the application process, so you should thoroughly understand the details of filing a provisional application. A provisional application will increase the likelihood of your patent application being accepted as a legitimate application. It may be worth considering using an attorney to help you prepare a provisional application.
After submitting a provisional application, you must wait at least 12 months to file a nonprovisional application. You should not file a nonprovisional application if your software is not ready to be patented after this period. You must file a nonprovisional application within 14 months after filing your provisional application. Then, you must submit a grantable petition to claim the benefit of the provisional application filing date.
If you are in the process of patenting software, a provisional application will help you secure a position as a first filing. You can then move forward with distribution and production, and even look for investment capital. However, if you fail to secure an official patent for your software, it will take up to 22 months to become effective. This means that it may be worthwhile to consider the pros and cons of filing a provisional application to patent software.
Getting a license from the patent office
The process of acquiring a license from the patent office varies. The process can take up to three years, particularly if the invention involves technological aspects. However, it is possible to obtain a license quickly. A license is usually voluntary, and can be granted to anyone who wants to make, use, or sell the patented article. It is important to understand that both the licensor and licensee have the right to terminate the agreement.
After receiving a license, it is necessary to negotiate the terms of the license. A royalty rate is a critical part of the negotiation process. A patent attorney can assist in this process. If the patent office is unfamiliar with patent licensing, here are some common issues to consider. You should also know what are deal-breakers and how to negotiate with a licensee. A patent attorney can negotiate on your behalf, as they are familiar with the legalities of licensing.
Once you have filed an application for your patent, you must choose a representative in Japan to file your application. It is possible to receive the license even if you don’t live in Japan, but you must make sure to file your application on time. Then, you must pay annual patent fees. After you have received your license, you must pay the fees specified in your contract. There are many benefits to obtaining a license from the patent office.
The term of the license is another important consideration. A longer term may be easier for the patent holder, and the agreement will not have to be renegotiated often. Conversely, a shorter term gives both sides time to adjust and consider the market conditions. Shorter terms, on the other hand, allow for the patent holder to make adjustments. That can be beneficial for one party, but can be disadvantageous for another.