Can You Patent Software Code?

The question of can you patent software code is a tricky one. It is possible to protect your code if you follow the proper steps. But patents are complex and if you’re not an expert, it may be difficult to understand. This article will go over the main factors that make software patents eligible. You can also read more about Novelty, Inventive step, and Non-obviousness.

Inventive step

Using the definition of obvious in the U.S. Patent Office case law can be a helpful guide when patenting software code. In order to be considered inventive, a technical invention must be new and must overcome prior art in order to be patentable. As John Richards points out, the term “obvious” is Latin for “next steps.” For example, the first cell phone was not an obvious technological advance, and has since been refined to become the cell phones we use today.

In addition to the novelty requirement, the patenting process requires the applicant to prove that he/she has invented the idea. If the applicant patented the idea before the software reached the market, they can show that they had a new idea or innovation. Because software companies make tools that most people don’t even know about, the rules requiring inventive step are very helpful in protecting an original idea. This rule also allows companies to update their systems over time.

The EPO considers a computer software that enhances a picture differently than software that improves a mathematical algorithm. Digital image enhancement is seen as a highly technical process, and a new mathematical algorithm in such a program may give rise to a technical innovation. In this case, the software may be patentable, depending on the algorithm used. The algorithm’s non-obviousness is the key to patentability.

During the patenting process, software developers may be faced with objections from various parties. Some claim that software patenting is trivial and prevents development. Different countries approach the issue differently. In Europe, they apply the ‘Inventive step test’. The ‘Inventive step test’ is a key element in the patent process for software, and it has been implemented as part of the European Patent Directive.

As with any technology, a computer program must meet the classical requirements for patentability. This means that the results of a computer program’s implementation cannot be a mere result of a previous technique. In addition, a computer program must also have an additional technical effect. In other words, a computer program that performs a specific task must be more valuable than a similar program that does the same thing in a different way.

While a computer program is an application of an idea, its core is its design. The code is the implementation of a person’s vision of how the system should function. A person’s mental conception of how a system should work is an invention. This mental conception involves the system’s architecture, road map, and various computations and manipulations of information. This mental conception is a patentable step.


The first question to ask yourself when drafting a patent application is whether or not the claimed invention is obvious. As with other types of patents, software is subject to the same criteria. In order to be patentable, the software must be useful and not obvious. While this requirement may be difficult to grasp, it is important to understand the definition of the word “obvious” and how the term is interpreted.

To be deemed non-obvious, a new and useful invention must have a sufficient difference from the prior art to be genuinely novel. The term “non-obvious” refers to a substantial difference between the invention and what a person of ordinary skill could have known without reference to the prior art. An example of an obvious invention is a common method of making road salt. Many chemists would consider the substitution obvious, and a formula that substitutes potassium chloride for sodium chloride would not be patentable.

Patent examiners ask whether the claimed invention would have been obvious to someone with ordinary skill in the art at the time of the plaintiff’s invention. While the obviousness inquiry may seem easy, it is actually a complex and fact-based process. In order to be patentable, an inventor must show that his or her invention is not obvious and is not fundamentally different from the prior art. An inventor must demonstrate that a patent application is inventive beyond the ordinary skill of others in the same field.

Another important requirement for a software patent is novelty. Generally speaking, software is an invention and most software is patentable. However, a software patent grant grants the inventor the right to use it for 20 years. In addition, software patents must be “practically” useful. This means that the software cannot be done by human beings alone. And they must bring some utility to human life. If these requirements are met, a software patent application should be granted.

Software that automates a decision-making process is less likely to be rejected as an abstract idea. The software must contain a “loop,” a computer science term that means one or more steps are repeated. This argument will help the Patent Office demonstrate that the method cannot be performed by hand without being computer-implemented. Further, software with an automated decision-making step is more likely to qualify as an abstract idea.

Software patents are important commercial assets and powerful tools. Patents protect your intellectual property and make you a desirable investment target. A published patent portfolio will deter or slow potential competitors from entering the market. It will also make your business more valuable to prospective investors and strategic acquirers. The advantages of having a patent portfolio are numerous. So, you should always be ready to defend your rights. You should be prepared to invest in a patent portfolio if needed.


To determine the level of novelty in software code, researchers use a variety of techniques. One technique, called “the creative product assessment model,” was proposed by Besemer and Treffinger in 1981. However, this method does not identify a particular software product trait. To identify software products that have high levels of novelty, designers must determine whether their features are truly novel or not. A study conducted with 80 software practitioners found that women preferred several different cognitive styles, and they produced the most novel features.

Researchers Couger and Dengate analyzed 6 software products to identify the factors influencing the creativeness of their products. In addition to the level of novelty, they looked at factors related to algorithmic complexity, effectiveness of technology transfer, and new technology or approach. These factors can affect software’s usefulness, and they are particularly relevant for software that aims to solve a particular problem. In addition, creativity can be measured in a number of ways, but one of the best ways to identify software’s uniqueness is to look at the way it is developed.