How to Patent a Software Idea

Many entrepreneurs struggle with the question of how to patent a software idea. Whether it’s an idea for an app or an invention for a new technology, patenting a new idea is possible if it has a viable business case. This article will help you through the process, and will teach you the essentials of defining an invention for patenting. We’ll cover the Inventive Step test and the Non-obviousness test.

Defining the invention to patent

A fundamental first step in the patent process is to define the invention. Patent attorneys look at a software idea in terms of its application. The claim must address a problem “necessarily rooted” in computer technology. Further, claims must not preempt other uses of the idea. In the case of software, these three requirements are important. Once you’ve determined that your idea meets these requirements, you’ll be able to define the invention to patent it.

As an example, let’s say that your software idea can help a taxi driver determine the best route for a customer without the assistance of a computer. If this software can be done by a taxi driver without the use of a computer, it doesn’t meet the patentability requirements. However, this is not an automatic disqualifier. It must be defined clearly and explicitly. A taxi driver can also do the same thing without the use of a computer.

Inventive step

Inventive step rules are an important part of patent law. They determine whether a patent is granted for a new invention or an obvious improvement. The main goal of the law is to encourage people to come up with new ideas and protect them, rather than letting companies make small changes without giving the idea any legal protection. However, the rules for determining inventive step can be a tricky concept. Let’s look at how they work.

In a study published in the European Journal of Law and Technology, 200 students assessed two products and their inventors’ claims. They found that the test improved patent judges’ opinions on the question of whether the invention was obvious, as well as the differences between the original art and the new invention. The study also resolved the issue of skill level within the art. This gives judges a concrete way to determine whether an idea is obvious and prevents hindsight bias.

To assess whether a software idea is eligible for patent protection, the inventor must first establish the field of technology in which the invention falls, and then create a hypothetical addressee who is not inventive. If the invention is an abstract idea, then it will likely be classified as an abstract idea, and that may prevent its use in many different areas. Instead, it is more likely to be used for a computing task, which requires less computing resources.

Moreover, despite the fact that the EPO Examiner deemed the claimed invention to be an “abstract algorithm”, the technical part of the claim was considered to be non-inventive. Moreover, the Examiner also cited earlier examples of computer-implemented pedestrian behavior simulations. The EPO argued that obvious modifications to these examples would give rise to the subject matter of claim one.


When submitting a patent application, an inventor should pay special attention to the non-obviousness requirement. This requirement is key for patentability and prevents trivial innovations from being protected. Although prior art may contain a reasonable expectation or motivation to perform a particular task, it must be explicit and teach the claimed invention. In many cases, prior art is too vague to qualify as an example of a trivial idea.

A relevant approach is one that would be used by a person skilled in the art. The USPTO’s patent office has specific criteria for determining whether an idea is obvious. This standard is often highly fact-specific. For example, a patent infringement challenger or defendant cannot present evidence of anticipation in order to establish obviousness. To obtain a patent, an applicant must show that their idea was original, innovative, and beyond the ordinary skills of the public.

In some cases, a computer is an obvious product, but the USPTO can still deny a patent if it’s used in a routine way. For instance, a computer system may use a memory-based data structure. If the data structure in a program is routinely added to computers and other modern devices, it’s obvious. For example, if a computer program uses this data structure, the software’s design may be patentable. Despite these restrictions, the patent process is not necessarily straightforward.

Because of the subjectivity of the obviousness requirement, it’s difficult to explain the concept. Fortunately, further reading can help you understand the non-obviousness requirement better. You can also make the decision for yourself based on your own judgment. If you’ve been working on your software idea for years, don’t worry – patenting your idea is a great way to get the recognition it deserves.

Inventive step test

If your software idea is simple and obvious, then it probably doesn’t meet the Inventive Step Test for patentability. This test is based on whether your idea is new and not just a modification of a previous product. While this seems like a straightforward test to pass, it can be challenging. If you are looking for a software patent, you should understand the ins and outs of the Inventive Step test before applying for a patent.

Patent law defines the Inventive Step as a technical or economic advance that makes the invention not obvious to someone skilled in the art. It also does not cover documents included in Article 54, paragraph 3 of the Patent Law. So, how can you apply this test to your software idea? Here are a few things you should know. If your idea is a new product, you need to prove that it isn’t obvious to someone in the industry.

The EPO has a special test for the Inventive Step. Unlike the USPTO, the EPO looks at the technical aspects of the invention to determine whether it is new. Thus, if non-technical matter exists in your software, it cannot provide inventive step. Instead, the EPO looks at both technicality and inventiveness together. That way, your software is far more likely to be a successful patent.

The Alice test can be a bit tricky. This test involves finding an “inventive concept” and then trying to determine whether it is inherently unique and different from the other ideas. The Alice test says that inventive concepts must be found in the “additional elements” of the claim. However, if your software idea is abstract, the Alice test will fail. Then you need to look at the technical implementation of your idea and see if it passes the test.

Cost of application

If you want to protect your software idea with a patent, the first step is to perform a prior art search. This will uncover other patents with similar features and publications. It will also reveal potential barriers to registration. The results of this search will help you decide whether to proceed with your patenting or not. The process typically costs anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000.

A provisional application costs significantly less than a full patent because it reserves a starting date. It costs about $1,500 to $2,000 to file a provisional application through an online service like UpCounsel. It’s best to file for a provisional application in countries where your software is aimed for sale or licensing. Before completing the patent application, you should test your software and look for potential investors.

The cost of patenting a software idea varies from $5,000 to $7,000, depending on the type of invention and the nature of the entity seeking patent protection. However, the cost will not stop there. Depending on the complexity of your invention, the costs can rise to as much as $15,000 or more. The fees will cover the entire patenting process, including the cost of prosecuting protection over time. But even then, it can be worth it in the end.