How to File a Patent for Software

If you are interested in patenting your software invention, you’ve come to the right place. Software patents can be filed to protect your idea, as long as you solve a technical problem. While software patents tend to generate more debate than other fields, they can be a great way to protect your work. However, software patents have not always been kind to inventors. Here are a few steps to follow to ensure that your software is protected.

Ensure the subject matter is patent eligible

When it comes to software patents, ensuring the subject matter is patent eligible is essential. While Alice has been discussed ad nauseum elsewhere, it remains the cornerstone of most eligibility analyses. In essence, Alice requires that a claim be more than the sum of its component parts. And a patent must cover at least one step in the process, from conception to usefulness.

The USPTO issued supplemental guidelines in 2014 to make it easier for applicants and examiners to understand what qualifies as patent-eligible subject matter. While these guidelines do not address all possible issues with software patents, they do provide a useful starting point for drafting arguments in patent applications. In particular, the examples provided in the guidelines are useful in identifying which aspects of software claims are likely to be patentable and which aren’t.

To get a patent for software, companies must make sure the software they are trying to patent is new and non-obvious. Moreover, software must not contain a step that is already known in the art. This means that the steps involved in performing a specific task should have been developed specifically for a computer. Further examples are available on the USPTO’s Subject Matter Eligibility website.

The third step in the invention process is defining the invention. In this case, the invention was concerned with maintaining a database of dealer inventory and collecting information about customer financing. The claims in this case included the application of certain steps, but did not disclose a new technology. The court upheld the decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and found that the claims were directed to a functional aspect of the software, not to an abstract idea.

Include as many diagrams, flowcharts, equations, illustrations as possible

When filing a patent for software, it is vital to include as many diagrams, flowcharts and equations as possible to prove that your idea is unique and feasible. This is especially true for new software products or inventions, as the patent examiner will need to see the invention in action before granting a patent. In addition, the more illustrations you include, the more convincing it will be to the patent examiner. Remember, though, that your patent application should not contain any diagrams, flowcharts, equations, or illustrations that are similar to one another.

Ensure the subject matter is “necessarily rooted” in computer technology

The Alice Two Step Test requires patent applications to include claims based on “problem solving,” “software features,” or other technological concepts. It is therefore best for litigants to focus on one particular technological problem or feature rather than making broad claims that include all technology. The goal is to give the reader a basic understanding of the Alice Two Step Test. To make sure that your claim will be successful, you should first review the Alice rulings to see if it is applicable to your particular technology.

Write method claims

A method is a finite sequence of steps used to perform a process or solve a problem. It can be a process or a product. When writing a method claim, focus on the essential steps. Omitted steps should be described in a dependent claim. The Federal Circuit has not addressed this issue, but the Supreme Court has made it clear that method claims can be sold to trigger patent exhaustion, otherwise known as the “first sale” doctrine.

A system claim can be infringed by multiple entities. This scenario occurs on the Internet, where the user does not own the constituent parts of the invention. In such cases, method claims can be invalidated because the software performs all steps. This situation occurs when a user owns only part of the invention, such as the source code, but not all of it. In other words, a method claim can be invalidated only if the user performed the steps that constitute the invention.

Processes have a more favorable treatment in patent law than other types of invention. They are more likely to qualify for extraterritorial protection than other types of patents. Further, they are more likely to involve multiple parties. In recent cases, the Supreme Court has emphasized the importance of method claims in patent prosecution. The Federal Circuit is correct that method claims should be evaluated differently than other types of patents. A method claim cannot be infringed merely through acts of making the invention. A method claim is tied to a tangible apparatus.

There are several factors that determine the validity of method claims in a patent. For instance, the Federal Circuit has not been consistent in its application of section 271(f) to method claims. In Eolas Technologies Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., the Federal Circuit held that software could be a component in the process. It also noted that the language in NTP that suggested method claims would be invalid was not a claim.

Include archiving system question

In order to qualify for a patent, a software invention must meet certain requirements. The patentable portion of the invention must be a technical feature or a user capability. Often, a software invention is not patentable unless it solves a specific customer problem. In addition, the patent should address a market need, such as reducing the computing resources required to perform a task.