If you have written a computer program that identifies prime numbers in a sequential order and activates a light connected to a pencil eraser for each number, you may be wondering how to patent a program. Protecting computer-related inventions can be difficult because you first need to define the invention.
This article will walk you through the process of creating an invention description. To get started, write a description that accurately captures your invention’s technical details.
Basic requirements on patenting a program
What are the requirements for software that is eligible for patent protection? Patenting software in the U.S. requires that the claims of the invention meet four criteria. First, the invention must contain patentable subject matter. It must also be new (not existing). The invention must also be practical. Fourth, the invention must not be obvious (similar to international application requirements that claims include an inventive step).
To make these determinations and to assist in filing a patent for your software, it is strongly recommended that you consult a USPTO registered Patent Practitioner. Software patents are usually written as method claims in order to describe the features and uses that the software has. Alice, Mayo, Myriad and Mayo have changed long-held approaches to protecting software applications.
A patent is possible for a new software invention if the claims of a software invention meet the four requirements.
process of creating a Program patent
Protecting computer-related inventions is tricky because you first need to define the invention. This is especially true when the invention involves a computer process, or is related to software. It is simple enough to create a list of desired functionality. If you are proficient in computer programming, you can write the code to enable the functionality. To get started, write a description that accurately captures your invention’s technical details.
#1. Describe and claim your invention in general terms
The summary of your invention should be concise and present the essence of your invention. In some cases, you may point out its advantages and how it solves problems. You must also list all figures by number and corresponding statements explaining what each figure depicts. This section should be concise and include enough information for a patent examiner to assess the merit of your invention. It may also contain paraphrases of U.S. patent classification definitions.
Patent claims are the most crucial part of your patent application. The patent examiner will look at each claim individually and determine if it can be patented. Often, the language in the claims is redundant because they describe the invention’s novelty. However, a detailed description of an alternative version can support narrower dependent claims. This section will help the patent examiner make a determination based on the original drawings and description.
#2. Describe and claim your invention with significant technical detail
Describe and claim your invention with significant technical details is one of the most important steps when submitting a patent application. While describing an invention is important, the claim is where the invention is defined. This is the primary purpose of the description. If it is only a summary, it will likely not have the necessary inventory to support the claims. In the other hand, if the description is thorough and complete, it will provide sufficient detail to support the claims.
The description must accurately represent the invention and provide enough details to perform it in several ways. The description is not the same for each variation. Instead, it should give enough instructions for each variation to be performed. However, it is not necessary to describe all variations in great detail. The main objective is to provide enough detail to perform the claimed variations. The claim language is often redundant in stating the novelty of the invention.
The patent description should include detailed information about the invention. The patent attorney will amend the claim language to include additional details and distinguish the invention from prior art. The purpose of the patent description is not to define patent rights; it is to give the technical detail needed to support the claims. This section of the patent application should include features of the invention that an average person would need to make it.
While the claim must contain a description of the claimed function, the specification should be able to prove that the applicant possessed the function prior to filing a patent application. Failure to disclose the algorithm may result in the patent claim being invalid for lack of written description. If a program is an algorithm, the claim should explain how it works and the interaction between hardware and software. Detailed descriptions of the algorithm are necessary to protect the program.
#3. Describe and claim your invention in a flowchart diagram
Describe and claim your invention in a flowing process model to capture your thoughts and processes. To develop an accurate flow process model, consult your patent testimony, sketches, and notebooks. Identify the representations of your invention, and place them in the central section of your diagram. Further, you can refer to other sources to flesh out inputs, outputs, and intermediaries. When you’re finished, you can then create a flow chart diagram describing your invention.
Flowcharts should be written in clear, straightforward language. Avoid awkward phrases, long sentences, and overly technical jargon. Check your work for errors and make sure all labels and forks are clearly defined. If you’re working with a team, get them to review your flowchart. Also, double check all fonts and colors. Then, your flowchart diagram is ready to submit to the patent office.
#4. Describe and claim your invention in a computer-implemented invention
A computer-implemented invention is a software-based system that performs a particular function. In order to protect a computer-implemented invention, the process must be fully described. Typically, the claimed process is described in terms of its functionality. This is because computer programming code for a software system to perform a specific function is considered a skill in the art. A claim for the method or process of making the software or hardware must be detailed enough to meet the requirements of the patent office.
If your invention is computer-implemented, it must meet the “written description” requirement. Moreover, it must teach people how to program the disclosed computer. The USPTO guidance muddles these two requirements. To avoid patent infringement, you should recite the abstract idea in the claim, not its implementation as a computer system. Otherwise, you risk being rejected because the recitation of the generic computer system is enough to make the claim ineligible.
To patent a computer-implemented invention, the process must involve a technical innovation that improves the state of the art. For example, if a new program in a computer can speed up the processing or storage of information, it is considered an invention. Moreover, the method must be novel, but the claimed subject matter must be a technical improvement. This means that the invention must be a computer-implemented algorithm or method that improves upon known knowledge.
To qualify for a patent, your computer-implemented invention must satisfy all three of the requirements listed in 35 U.S.C. SS 101. The EPO’s case law shows that the invention must involve a technological process. Moreover, computer-implemented inventions may contain different parts that require separate protection. Patenting a computer-implemented invention protects the technical teaching in abstract terms, but does not cover the specific program code. The corresponding patenting process for software applications is known as copyright.
#5. Pass the Alice test
If you’re in the process of building an app that’ll run on multiple platforms, you’ve probably wondered how to pass the Alice test. While the test itself is straightforward, the level of proof that a patent application must demonstrate is exceptionally high. Here are some tips to help you pass the test. Read on to learn how to patent a program and avoid the pitfalls that plague so many app developers.
The Alice test is a process that US patent examiners use to determine whether a claim is eligible for a patent. Basically, the test looks at a claim and determines if the claimed is an abstract idea or if it is “abstract,” in which case the claim is invalid. For example, if the claimed idea involves the use of a database or a processor, the application would not be eligible for a patent.
If your program is a computer program, you can apply for a software patent. You’ll need to prove that the program uses the software itself. If it works, your program will likely be eligible for a patent. You’ll need to prove that it improves the way a computer operates. The Alice test is often tough to pass. However, if the invention improves a computer’s functionality, it will be a patentable invention.
The Alice test requires that a claim must be directed to a “significantly more than an abstract idea” to qualify for a patent. The Federal Circuit has created a framework that is complicated and unclear, but it has provided greater certainty for the patent bar. The Alice test has been the main source of confusion and controversy in the patent arena, but it has also helped tech companies overcome the NPEs that plagued the U.S. courts.
The advantages of patent protection
Patent protection is available for inventions that are new, useful, and non-obvious in any technology field. The criteria of patentability are established in national patent laws. Innovators have significant advantages from patent protection:
- To ensure inventors receive a fair return on commercially successful inventions.
- This will make it easier for small businesses and startups that are innovation-based to form successful business partnerships.
- Promoting the systematic sharing knowledge through patent disclosure is an important driver for innovation.
- Assisting in the attraction of investment partners and business expansion.
If the software patent is properly written, it will cover all the different ways that a computer coder can accomplish the same task. Software patents are more valuable than copyrights. Copyrights protect computer code but are not able to prevent copying of the code. You have no recourse if you only have a copyright. Software patents are essential for anyone who needs to protect their proprietary software.
Now over to you
A patent application covering a software-related invention has to describe the computer architecture within which the software will be found. A single flowchart must be prepared that shows the entire software’s working. You will need to prepare a series flow charts showing in detail how the different routines and subroutines work together to create and deliver the full functionality of the software.
It is difficult to grasp the rules and regulations surrounding software patents like programming. You can rely on a patent attorney to help you navigate the complex world of intellectual property law. We have experience of over 15 years of filing quality patents. Our experienced team provides a solution for our clients to get great patents. Get your patents with PatentPC