When Is It Possible to Patent Software?

When is it possible to patent software? Often, it is possible. The process is known as reverse engineering. It involves disassembling machine code and looking for evidence that a particular behavior is not present without disassembly. If you’ve crafted a software program that does this, you may be able to find traces of the method you’re using in the code. After all, computer code is just a language like any other.

Abstract ideas make software patentable

If you’re interested in finding out how to make software patentable, you’re not alone. Over 100 decisions have been made on this issue, and none have been as surprising as the Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank case. This landmark decision affirmed a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling from May 2013. As you’ll read below, abstract ideas are ineligible for patent protection. That means your software might not be patented after all.

A recent Supreme Court ruling made it clear that software patents are only available for ideas tied to computers. The Court held that an abstract idea cannot be transformed into a patentable invention by reciting the idea in a novel way. Even though the Alice case found some of these claims to be “abstract,” it cited physical hardware and code that made software patentable. Thus, while a computer may be an abstract idea, the equipment and code used to make it are not, and cannot be, patented.

The Alice case set a precedent for software patents. The Alice case concerned software that improved financial transactions through the use of third-party intermediaries. While the idea of using third-parties to reduce the risks of settlements isn’t new, tying it to a computer’s general capabilities does not make it patentable. Although many software patents have been ruled invalid since Alice, this decision has been a game-changer for software patent law.

The patent process is difficult. Software patents are hard to defend because of their lack of scope and ambiguity. As a result, there is often little or no protection for software that’s developed by other people. Furthermore, a software patent may be difficult to obtain if the hardware is not directly connected to the software. It’s essential to understand the patent process to protect your invention. The USPTO’s Patent Full-Text and Image Database can help you with your application.

Computer code is the end-all-be-all of a software program

A software program’s code is its source, or written instructions. These instructions are written in a programming language (typically C) and are translated by a compiler into machine-readable code (referred to as object code). The source code consists of statements, functions, and declarations that specify the operation of a software program. Each program has a source file that contains its source code, which can be stored on the computer’s hard drive or in a database. Source files can also be printed out as books that contain code snippets.

Computers cannot distinguish between numbers and names without special codes. The computer must interpret these values in order to function properly. A character is a single letter or symbol that is defined as the sole unit of written language. The char variable can store any character value. It is a reserved keyword in some languages. An object is a set of related variables. For example, an object might include a number of school students or the age of a student.

The genetic code, which is also known as DNA, is a common example. Researchers have been working for years to encode data into the DNA double helix. These cutting-edge research efforts are already promising new storage technology with higher densities. The computer code, on the other hand, is made up of symbols from the source alphabet. A computer code embodies a series of rules that a software program must follow.

One of the first examples of computer code being executed was on June 21, 1948, when a program was created using a binary system. The Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine (MSEM) was built by computer scientists Freddie William and Tom Kilburn at the University of Manchester. The first program written on this machine used machine code to perform mathematical calculations. It took 52 minutes to compute the greatest divisor of two to the power of 18!

Computer code is a language just like any other language

Almost all languages have primitive building blocks, and computer code is no different. These primitives describe data and processes, and ultimately define what the code is meant to do. Whether a computer is written in English or Russian, the underlying syntax is similar. There are many languages and dialects, but English is probably the most common among them. Even though English is an international language, there are other languages, such as French and Russian, that are also used in software.

While the differences between natural and computer languages are often subtle, they can make a big difference in the results. Moreover, programming languages have a higher degree of precision and completeness than natural language. Even if a programmer speaks natural language, they might make even a small error. A computer is incapable of understanding a programmer’s intent, so language definitions must specify the behavior that the program will have on the outside.

Inventive step

When examining an application for a software patent, examiners are looking for the ‘inventive step’ in the process. In order to qualify as an ‘inventive step’, the software must produce a technical effect or solve a technical problem. Any part of the software that is not related to this effect or problem is deemed irrelevant. Consequently, an application for software patent may fail.

When examining patent applications for software, the EPO and USPTO examine a software’s technical character as a way to determine if the product is innovative. While the two requirements are often correlated, they differ in a few areas. If the claim contains non-technical features, this is not an inventive step. However, non-technical features in the claimed invention can help make the software inventive.

Another factor to consider is the combination of two or more different types of technology. The software must involve an ‘inventive step’ if it is not obvious to those in the art. It must be first-to-identify a problem or solve a long-standing problem. Similarly, commercial success is not always a testament to inventive step – it may be due to marketing and branding rather than technical merit. One case in which the court found that the design was not obvious to those with common knowledge, however, is a case in point.

Often, the ‘inventive step’ in software is the construction of a hypothetical addressee. This hypothetical addressee is not inventive, but even a scintilla of inventiveness can be sufficient to support the application. It is important to remember that software patents are public disclosure. In some cases, licenses that make software available for free can also affect whether a software is an inventive step.


Patenting software is not a straightforward process, so it is important to understand non-obviousness. Generally, the USPTO’s definition of non-obviousness will help you decide whether or not your idea is truly novel. Listed below are some criteria that should be considered when determining whether your idea is truly novel. The USPTO uses these criteria when determining whether your invention is novel:

To begin, non-obviousness requires more than routine conventional activities. It requires that software innovators go beyond the routine routines of software development and implement new ways to do things, and that is where software patent eligibility comes in. For example, a memory containing a data structure should be regarded as a patentable subject matter. However, the data structure itself should be taken into account when determining whether your idea is novel or not.

The Prometheus decision requires that software inventors analyze claim elements that are obvious and prior art to determine whether a new invention is novel. The analysis should also include consideration of Sections 101 and 102. This analysis should be conducted with a skilled patent attorney. It is best to consult an attorney if you are unsure of what elements constitute a novel idea. If your invention has not been around for several years, a patent attorney can help you decide whether it is novel or not.

When it comes to software patents, the most common objection is that they are too obvious. Developers and software experts alike claim that software patents hinder innovation. After all, 99% of software is not novel or non-obvious. It is therefore impossible to patent anything that does not meet these two criteria. In Europe, the European Patent Directive requires that a new idea is useful and non-obvious.