How to Get a Software Patent?

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Get a Software Patent

Computer technology is the backbone to which modern society relies on nowadays. A computer cannot function without software. Hardware and software complement each other in this information age. Therefore, to protect such vital operations, the intellectual property protection of software is critical not just for the software itself, but for business at large.

In the United States, software is patentable so long as it is tied to the machine and unique. It’s not that the software that is patented, but one or more inventions embodied within the software. To begin the process, you need copyright to protect the code and apply for a patent with the USPTO.

Determine Your Eligibility

The software-based invention is grouped as a process. As you look how it will be used, you’ll start to understand the unique parts that must be protected from infringers. The processes are the inventions that require patent protection.

To be patented, you must have an invention within your software that is non-obvious, tied to the machine, and new. Your claims should not be based on abstract concepts or ideas to be eligible for protection.

Before you file, complete a prior art search to ascertain that no one has an identical or patented a similar invention.  Hire a registered attorney to help you conduct your search or use the USPTO Patent Full-Text Database that contains all patent applications.  The search assists to know if the invention has been declared obvious. Read here How Much Does a Software Patent Cost?

Filing the Provisional Form

Use a provisional form for your first time as the non-provisional one take some time to process. Provisional forms are cheaper and don’t need many complicated routines. It serves you for twelve months while you work on the non-provisional application. To complete the form, include a written description of the invention along with the names and addresses of the inventors. You can use email to submit hard copies along with the fee or file using an electronic system.

Filing a Non-Provisional Application

Hire an attorney as the process is technical to save time and money. Draft your application which must include all the required forms for preciseness. Sign each of the forms and ensure you meet all the specifications described in precise and exact terms. A software patent application approached its use from the perspective of the user and discusses the structure from a system and computer point of view.

It should include such documents as the background and summary of the invention, list of claims, and a detailed description. The application closes with the inventor’s declaration or oath.

Once you are through, you can submit the documents and wait for the USPTO to respond. Your examiner will review your application, and many claims made. Once the application is filled, you cannot make alterations.   If there are objections, and you can overturn them, your patent will be issued once you pay the needed fees.

To keep your patent, you must pay maintenance fees between 3.5 and 11.5 years after your patent is granted.  If you qualify as a micro or small entity, your maintenance fee will be much lower. The USPTO fees may change occasionally; hence, you must check the fee schedule to know how much you owe.

Know the Core Part of Your Invention

You can incorporate software in a computer or an apparatus, but often, such is created, reproduced, and distributed on media like an online network.  The software can provide technical functions like regulation of room temperature and can be used in communication monitoring among others.  Therefore, depending on how the software is used with the hardware, the things you wish to protect can differ. The central part of your software may lie in a network, method, or the processing of data. Taking such considerations can help you to evaluate the possibilities of getting a patent for your innovation.

Patenting Your Software Abroad

Remember potentiality requirements are not the same everywhere.  If you wish to protect your invention overseas, you must obtain a patent in the country of your interest. A patent granted to a given country can only be enforced in that particular country which may be hard to stop competitors from using your invention. The biggest problem that you can face when seeking patent overseas is that regional or national laws and practices differ.