A patent can be filed for a computer program, an improved format or layout of data, or the graphic interaction with a computer program. Patentable software must meet certain legal requirements to be eligible for the protection of a software invention. Listed below are some examples of software that may qualify for patent protection. This article discusses some of the most common software patent applications. There are many more categories that software developers should be aware of.

List of patentable software

1. Computer program

The English patent law recognizes that a computer program can be patented. However, not all computer programs are eligible for patent protection. For example, a program that plays a song may not meet the requirements of patentable industrial applicability under U.S. patent law. For a computer program to be eligible for patent protection, it must offer a new technological solution or meet the requirements of the Paris Convention, which governs industrial property rights. In order to qualify for patent protection, a computer program must perform a new and useful technical function.

Computer programs can be patented if they perform certain functions that are unique to that software. The software must advocate inventiveness to be eligible for patent protection. It should not be a mathematical formula or algorithm. A computer program may be patented for its algorithm, but not its implementation code or copying algorithm. A patent provides a much stronger protection for software than copyright does. For example, a thermostat control algorithm may be patented under patent law.

The Federal Circuit, which oversees patent matters, has decided whether a computer program can be patented. In the past, computer programs were not deemed patentable because they were mental steps and not a machine or process. The Federal Circuit has since decided that computer programs are patentable if they perform an action in the real world. Therefore, software that manipulates real world values is a potentially patentable invention. However, there are other factors that determine whether a software program is a patented product.

Before pursuing patent protection for software, the software inventor must conduct a search for conflicting software. It is crucial that the applicant avoids overlapping patents that already exist. Further, the inventor should seek the help of an attorney. A patent application should be accompanied by flowcharts and illustrations showing how the algorithms of the program work. The software is intended for use by the licensee. The licensee may have to make fair use of the software, or the software could be in conflict with laws.

2. Improved format or layout of data

Software patents are a popular form of intellectual property protection. Among the goals of software patents are to create and distribute new programs and data formats that improve the user experience. Patenting these improvements is difficult because of the vast amount of competing software. However, software patents can be effective in achieving these goals. In this article, we will discuss how software patents are different from traditional patents.

3. Using conventional components in an unconventional way

The Supreme Court recently ruled that certain software is not patentable, but certain claims may be. To qualify, however, a claim must be directed to a method, system, or computer component that is unconventional. Although these components may be conventional, there can be a technical improvement to the computer’s performance. The court has made this distinction clear in a number of recent decisions. Here are the main factors to consider before submitting a software patent application.

4. Graphical interaction with a computer program

The PTO’s examination process for design patents is not limited to patentability. In some instances, a design patent can claim novel design elements, but its practical use is not a good analogy. The courts are essentially gatekeepers to protect social welfare. Although the analogy is not universal, it is applicable to some design patents. For example, design protection is similar to copyright protection of graphical user interfaces, functionality, and infringement.

The patentability of GUIs is a balancing act. Since a computer program is a materialization of software, it is unlikely to be a movable article. However, a design patent can protect a user interface’s design, but not the surface ornamentation. The resulting distinction between function and expression is not a clear one. Further, designers should consider the broader scope of a design patent before pursuing it.