How to Patent Software
If you are wondering how to patent software, there are several steps that you can take to get your invention protected. You should know what Exclusions are for a software invention, how to file a patent application, and what to expect if your software is granted a patent. After reading this article, you will be ready to file your first application at the EPO. Follow the tips in this article to get started. You’ll soon learn how to patent your software!
Obtaining a patent for software
UKIPO and EPO take different approaches to the issue of patentability of software. The UKIPO’s approach has often drawn criticism from those who advocate European patent harmony. However, there are also some similarities between the UK and EPO’s approach to patentability. Here is a brief summary of the process:
While business methods may not be considered real stuff, they are nevertheless useful in some cases. A patented motor diagnosis system, for instance, relays measurements to an expert system that analyzes the data and sends back a repair report. In contrast, an equivalent part ordering system that orders replacement parts before a car breaks down would not qualify as a patentable invention. The patentee must show that the claimed aspect of a software invention is genuinely novel.
The UK Patents Act and the European Patent Convention both contain exclusions for software. Among these are computer programs, scientific theories, business methods, mathematical methods, and computer programs. However, these are only excluded to the extent they relate to the invention. In this way, obtaining a patent for software is a very practical option for many companies. But, as a result, software development companies are gaining a reputation for their innovative spirit.
While financial systems and document abstraction inventions are often disallowed in the UK, there is still an exception for computer software that implements industrial control methods or physical data processing. For example, computer software that automates trading in securities can be patentable. The Court of Appeal has ruled in Merrill Lynch’s case that the claim in its entirety does not meet the definition of a patent. Its patentability may be questioned, but the UKIP has issued case law interpreting it differently to make it more clear.
Exclusions from patentability
Generally, a computer program does not fall within the exclusions from patentability of software. While computer programs themselves are not patentable, they can still be patented if they provide additional technical effects. In European patent law, however, computer programs do not qualify as inventions under the EPC. As a result, a large body of case law has developed around the subject matter of what constitutes an “invention” of this kind.
In this case, the challenged patents were claimed based on an escrow service that facilitates multi-national financial transactions. In its ruling, the court found that the patents did not satisfy the fundamental conditions for patentability under 35 USC Section 101. The European Patent Convention also has provisions for challenging the patentability of computer programs and business methods, but no equivalent exclusions are included in this treaty. However, the US Supreme Court’s decision has provided further clarity for this area of law.
The patentability of software depends on whether it contributes to the invention or is merely a part of it. It must be sufficiently technical to qualify as an invention. For example, a blue squash ball could be patented because it enhances visibility. However, the most confusing, contested, and disputed exclusion is the program for a computer. While there are exceptions for software that perform a particular function, programs containing the software are the most elusive and controversial exclusions from patentability.
There are several examples of exclusions from patentability of software. Patents that do not cover abstract ideas and business methods are invalid. In addition to the general exclusions, the patents do not cover “abstract ideas.”
Filing a patent application
In the UK, filing a patent application for patent software is relatively simple. The UK Patents Court, part of the Chancery Division of the High Court, consists of IP expert judges who hear patents for software products. In addition, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court have several highly qualified IP experts, making them a good choice for more complex cases. However, if you do not wish to file a patent application in the UK, you can pursue the patent in Europe.
In the UK, document abstractions and financial systems are generally disallowed as patentable inventions. The first patent case to deal with section 1(2) of the Patents Act 1977 dealt with a computer system that automated trading of securities. The Court of Appeal rejected the claim as being too broad and too abstract. This decision was made because the application was not patentable as a whole. However, the law has changed.
To obtain patent protection for your software or invention, you should file your patent application with the UK Intellectual Property Office. You can also file for patent protection in other countries, including the European Patent Convention. Filing for patent protection in multiple countries can be prohibitively expensive for small businesses. However, it may be worth it if your software is internationally-renowned and has a high demand. This will give you a head start and protect your investment in your software.
Filing a patent application for patent software can be challenging, particularly for those who are not technically savvy. Software may be considered non-technical or abstract by the European Patent Office, which focuses on assessing whether the claimed aspects are novel. For example, a software program that allows a computer to compile and display data may be considered technical, but not patentable, since the software cannot be used for business purposes.
Filing a patent application at the EPO
The process for filing a patent application for software at the EPO is different from that of other technology areas. For example, while the UK system can expedite a patent application for green innovations, the process for filing a patent at the EPO for software is much slower. However, there are benefits to filing a patent in the UK. The UK’s patent system offers several advantages over the EPO’s, such as an accelerated patent grant time.
Applicants should also consider the cost of re-registration in other territories. This is an inexpensive way to secure patent protection in other countries. Also, the UKIPO gives applicants more chances to amend their claims. Distinctions are not often made on discretionary amendments. Additionally, UKIPO allows applicants to request more than one claim set to be searched. The first search is typically free, and the second search request is not subject to a deadline. A search may be beneficial in determining patentability and, if necessary, deciding whether to file a divisional application.
Once your application is submitted, the EPO will issue a search report with search opinion, a format equivalent to the first examination report. Applicants can pay additional examination fees to expedite the process, but it is not necessary. The search report issued by the EPO will take approximately six months to receive if all the required information is included. In normal circumstances, it takes the EPO about six months to issue a search report. Applicants should seek legal advice regarding their specific situation and to decide whether they should pursue the patent application in the UK.
The UKIPO has consistently taken a different approach towards software patents than the EPO, and in certain situations, this has led to a different result. Often, UK patent applications for software are rejected due to their lack of technical features. However, the UKPO will consider the features of a software program to be essential to the invention. The EPO’s approach is more likely to result in a patent grant.
Filing a patent application at the UKIPO
If you are filing a patent application for the UK, there are several advantages that you can expect to receive. A patent issued by the UKIPO is considered a valid patent. As the official patent office, the UKIPO will inform you when your patent has been granted, published, or communicated. However, the process can take a while, so it’s important to follow the steps thoroughly. Once you’ve successfully filed your application, you’ll want to know what comes next.
A UK patent will provide the highest quality of examination of your application. A granted UK patent may also be used to accelerate grant in other territories. The Patent Prosecution Highway makes it possible to use a UK patent in other territories. In addition, the UKIPO’s grant fees are generally lower than the fees in other patent offices, so you may be able to save money on your application costs. This allows you to use your patent for accelerated prosecution in other territories.
After you submit your patent application at the UKIPO, you will receive a filing receipt that confirms the date of your application and the patent case number. Once you’ve received your filing receipt, you can choose to pursue the patent application in the UK only or in other countries. UKIPO will give priority to the first patent application that receives a complete set of documents. Your patent application will be published eighteen months after you file it.
When filing a patent application at the UKIPO, you must take into account the public domain. Any published document or talk that cites the idea may fall into this category. This can lead to delays in your application, so make sure to carefully consider the dates before you make your submission. The application can be filed as early as the day you disclose the invention to the public. It is composed of a written description of the invention, suitable drawings, and a set of claims.