What Can I Patent Software?
Are you curious about what can be patented in the software industry? There are several different types of software that may be suited for patenting. For example, insulin pump software may be worthy of patent protection, because it could provide better control of insulin delivery. Other software in a connected car could improve prediction of potential road accidents or determine whether a driver is drowsy, which would be an excellent candidate for patent protection.
If you are planning to file a patent application for a computer software product, one of the first things that you need to decide is whether the invention is truly new. Patenting software products is a complicated process, and the examining division will need to take several factors into account in order to determine whether your software idea is truly unique. The examining division will look for a number of factors, including the level of technical novelty and the inventive step required.
The first thing to consider when applying for a patent for your software product is whether it is a new idea or an improvement on an existing one. The rule is important because it prevents people from obtaining a patent for an existing idea – even a simple tweak to a product. The Inventive step also helps companies keep improving their products and continuing to develop new ideas and systems. A successful patent for a new software application can lead to millions of dollars for your company.
The next consideration when filing a patent application is whether your software is novel. The claim will not be granted if it was obvious to a reasonable person without the patented product. In other words, the software must solve a problem or produce a technical effect. If any part of the software is not contributing to this effect or solving a problem, it is not a new invention. The EPO will generally disregard your application if it does not show inventive step.
Having a technologically significant invention is a vital component of a successful patent application. However, if the solution is obvious to a person skilled in the art, then your invention is not considered to be innovative. However, it must be better than any existing solution in terms of accuracy and efficacy. This is why you need to have a clear understanding of this factor before filing a patent application.
Patenting software is not difficult, but there are several considerations to be made. The first of these is whether the invention is novel and useful. Patent law says that claims for a patent must be new and useful, and not obvious if a person of ordinary skill could create the product. This is not always the case, however. Some examples of obviousness may include substituting potassium chloride for sodium chloride. A chemist working to make road salt would likely consider the substitution obvious. Therefore, a formula for substituting potassium chloride for sodium chloride would not be patentable.
In addition to identifying usefulness, patents for software must also be non-obvious, which is another requirement. The same criteria apply to hardware patents, but they have an added twist: they must be useful to the public. As such, software patents must satisfy both of these requirements. The US Supreme Court has provided two useful approaches to the issue of non-obviousness. In KSR v. Teleflex (2006), the Court provided guidelines for what constitutes an obvious invention.
The second consideration for software patents is the ability to be patented. The patent process is complex and involves many procedural hurdles. Patent attorneys must prove that the invention is not obvious. It must be new and useful beyond what a person of ordinary skill in the art already knows. A person of ordinary skill in the art cannot come up with a similar solution to a problem. The patent must also demonstrate inventiveness beyond the ordinary level of that art.
In addition, a software patent must satisfy the requirements of being new and not obvious. This is because the claim must show that there are no other similar products in the market. Thus, the claimed software must be innovative in order to be eligible for a patent. Further, a software patent must have a technical effect. It must also be useful to the public and provide useful results. In the end, software patents protect a wide range of innovations.
Computer as a critical component
A computer can be patentable if it is a critical component of a machine. To be patentable, a computer must be a technical component and the software must be a ‘new and useful’ interaction between hardware and software. The application should explain how the computer is essential to the creation of the physical phenomenon. This can be difficult to achieve if the software is not patentable. However, there are certain steps that an applicant can take to increase the chance of their patenting success.
First, the invention must involve a computer. Whether the computer is the critical component depends on the type of invention and the specific problem. The patent must address a definite problem. For example, software may be patented if it solves the problem of sending messages efficiently over a network. It would not be patentable if it simply stores data. But if it enables users to communicate with other people through networks, the patent would be able to protect both the physical devices and the software.
CII patents may be valuable if they address a technical problem. For example, a systems engineer might devise a new method to load balance a network and make it patented. A systems engineer can make that idea into a computer program. The software can then be used to implement it in a machine. It could be patented as a computer as a critical component.
The digital economy is heavily dependent on technology. Much of its value lies in software, and this dependency is affecting all economic sectors. For example, software-related innovations are crucial to many technological advancements, such as smartphones. For example, Qualcomm chips have increased from 330 million lines of code to 3.3 billion lines of code. The chip is the brains of smartphones and represents years of high-risk R&D investment.
The legal standards for granting a patent depend on the country and regional offices. For example, computer programs do not qualify as patentable inventions if they simply implement business processes. However, programs that implement industrial processes can be patented. So, if your computer is an integral part of your invention, you should be sure to patent it. It should be patented so that it can be used by other businesses.