How Do You Patent Software?

Obtaining a patent for software is a highly complex process. The process is different for different software and the criteria to apply for a patent are different. This article will discuss the criteria for software and the challenges that you might face. Read on to discover the process and costs involved. Getting a patent for software is a great way to protect your software and ensure that others cannot copy it. If you’ve developed software that’s been used for business purposes, you may want to consider patenting your product.

Problem faced in Patenting Software

One of the problems with patenting software is that patents can be overbroad. This means that software patents can be termed to cover a wide range of  methods, processes, codes or programs. They can be viewed  as scripts, programs, or applications or simply everything that runs within a system, a game or social media application. Software patents can cover methods of carrying out the same function in a different way. This is different than suing people who copy your idea. But this doesn’t mean that you cannot patent it if you want to. Here are a few examples of overbroad claims in software patents. Basically, there’s no way to patent software unless you can show a material disadvantage over the alternative implementation. Software patents also extend to general ideas. These can be difficult to enforce and can have negative consequences for the creative process. It takes more than just a little creativity to create a computer application. Software can be used for a multitude of purposes and may also violate the terms of intellectual property laws. In the past, patenting programs was considered a problem, but that has changed. Today, software has become the medium and the mediator of human experience. Modern day advancement in technology has greatly propelled growth and interest in the application and registration of software patents. Software is designed to meet specific needs. Because of this, patents on software can affect the flow and generation of information. The problem with patenting software is that it rewards innovators while preventing others from using their ideas. Software cannot be classified as low-level nature, a physical phenomenon, or abstract. The original patent application for software cannot cover mathematics. In fact, software source code consists of mathematical equations and algorithms. Hundreds of source codes have already been patented. This makes it impossible for any company to protect their ideas.

Criteria to meet to be eligible for a Software patent

The process of obtaining a patent involves several steps. First, an applicant must be eligible to obtain a patent. Once the applicant has met these eligibility requirements, he or she must submit a patent application. A patent application is a legal document that contains detailed information about a product, method, or process. The application is a process by which an inventor can protect an idea or invention in an attempt to get it commercially successful. A successful patent application can be used to prevent other businesses from using the software. With the rise in software patenting, businesses also use the patent to provide financial success and competitive advantage in the changing business world. Since the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, many businesses especially in the US have registered Software patents. To be eligible to obtain a patent, an invention must meet certain requirements. For example, it must be novel and useful. The invention must not have been disclosed, made available, or offered for sale. It also must not have been used in a previous manner. Most importantly, an applicant must show that the invention was not previously known to others. In other words, it must be new, unrepeatable, and unforeseen. A new set of guidelines has been issued by the USPTO to assess the validity of patent applications. The updated procedures were designed to identify claims that recite judicial exceptions and incorporate considerations from the Alice/Mayo framework. The revised procedures at the USPTO Step 2A step ,include the factors from the Alice/Mayo framework. The revisions will help examiners identify claims reciting judicial exceptions while increasing consistency and predictability. The Alice case requires that a court should first determine whether the claim covers an abstract idea. Abstract methods for software development are usually not common.  The European Patent Office (EPO) does not provide a clear definition of what constitutes a technical character. It does, however, provide case examples as a guideline for applicants. However, computer programs that have no technical character are not eligible. A further technical effect is an innovation that goes beyond the normal interaction between objects. To a lay person and as per the dictionary definition, a technical character can be termed as a symbol, a display or expression of information either in a photographic or word form.  The character is used as a short form or a code of a more complex technical thing.

Challenges to getting a patent for software

If you’re looking to secure a software patent, you’re likely facing many challenges. Because software patents are more difficult to protect, patentable claims are often directed at specific implementations and may be harder to detect infringing third-party code. As earlier mentioned, the field is quite wide and continuous to gradually widen as time goes by. This article will examine some of the common challenges and strategies for ensuring that your patents are fully protected. Here’s a look at some of the most common issues and challenges in software patent litigation. Initially Software was not patented till the Alice Corp land mark case of 2014.  To be patentable, the inventor must strongly convince the registering office that the software is not just an abstract idea but a technical idea which may be new or old but it improves an already existing program or introduces a way better method in a particular field. Some potential innovators and business entrepreneurs find this condition complex and challenging. One solution is to write around patents. While it may seem easy to write algorithms around key patents, that’s not practical in the grand scheme of things. Not only is it impossible to avoid every software patent out there, but there are so many that writing around them is almost impossible. Because software patents are written by lawyers for lawyers, they’re often ambiguous and hard to defend. In many cases, writers can’t do much more than write around key patents, so this is an impossible task. However, the patent protects your exclusive commercial rights to prevent others from using your software invention. While software patents are a good idea, they’re still controversial in many foreign jurisdictions. The European Parliament rejected legislation that would have made software patents legal in 2005 and New Zealand banned software patents entirely in 2013. However, clever patent lawyers have found ways to claim software inventions without running into formal software patent bans. There’s still plenty of time to get your patent approved and be protected. The sooner you start, the better. Software patents protect your software idea, source code, and invention from use by others without your authority. Another challenge is drafting an adequate claim set for a software invention. Inventors should do their homework before starting any program development. While some patent applications are secret, others become public after 18 months. Even if you’ve done your research, it’s possible to release a software program without knowing about a patent. If you don’t know about a patent, you could face lawsuits for infringement. Thorough research should hence be conducted before the release of a software to ascertain its inexistence before claiming any rights. Some call this due diligence.

Cost of filing a patent application

The cost of filing a patent application for software varies by country. The average application costs approximately $15,000, according to an AIPLA bi-annual survey. This amount includes filing and lawyer fees, as well as illustration and search costs. A utility patent requires 4.2 office actions, and some will issue immediately. Others will require more back and forth consultations and interactions with the examiner. Patent attorneys are said to make more money during this process. The first step in the software patent process is a prior art search. This research will identify similar issued and published patents and patent applications. This will help you assess the scope of your patent protection. You may choose to conduct your own research to determine whether there is any overlap or potential barriers to registration. However, this process will require the assistance of an attorney, so be sure to budget at least $5,000 to cover the costs. In addition to the official filing fee, you will also have to pay for renewal fees. For the first year, you will need to pay approximately $600, while for subsequent years, you will need to pay approximately $1,200. You may also need to pay a $160 fee for the official search, which will result in a total of $2,900. A third-year renewal is another $500. If you are preparing to file an amended application, you will pay a further $200. The next step is to file a provisional patent. This is the first step towards a software patent. A provisional patent on Up Counsel will cost between $1,500 and $2,000. A software patent is a great investment in protecting your idea and ensuring that others can’t use it without permission. This can help you find investors or test the software. You can also use the year to conduct research on the competition. The provisional patent application must however thoroughly describe an innovation for it to be termed effective. The application serves the innovator priority rights if at all their innovation is eligible for a patent or is patentable.

Time it takes to get a patent

When it comes to filing a patent application, time is of the essence. The process of getting a patent is very complex. Patent examiners must review hundreds of applications and make decisions about which ones to approve or reject. Whether an invention is technical or not, it will determine the length of the wait for the patent. Technical inventions are assigned to specific examiners at the USPTO, so their examination times are typically shorter. To expedite the process, you can file for a “Track One” application. This option will require an additional fee of $1,000 for micro-entities, $2,000 for small entities, and $4,500 for non-small entities. The average time from filing a patent application to receiving a first office action (FOA) to final ruling is roughly five to six years. Depending on the complexity of the invention, the time it takes to obtain a patent is typically long. A patent search can take up to three weeks. A patent examiner must examine thousands of prior art references to determine whether or not a specific technology or combination is patentable. This examination can take a longer time for new inventions in rapidly evolving fields such as computer software. Furthermore, the number of patents being processed at the USPTO is growing, and more applications require a longer time to complete. While this process is lengthy and tedious, a good patent attorney will help you get through it. The wait however becomes more rewarding especially when a qualified patent attorney helps you understand the process and guide you through the process step by step. The involvement of a professional in this field gives one surety of a more positive outcome. Remember to hire a patent attorney with computer science background to ensure that your invention is patent worthy. A qualified patent attorney will provide expert advice on the timeline and what can be done to expedite the process. If you want to expedite the process, contact a patent attorney with extensive experience.