How to patent software idea [Definitive Guide]

Last updated : Aug 29, 2022
Written by : Katheleen Ingwerson
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How to patent software idea

Can software programs be patented?

The real question is whether software-related inventions can be patented. The answer to this question is YES!

How do I patent an idea myself?

  1. Keep a Written Record of Your Invention. Record every step of the invention process in a notebook.
  2. Make Sure Your Invention Qualifies for Patent Protection.
  3. Assess the Commercial Potential of Your Invention.
  4. Conduct a Thorough Patent Search.
  5. Prepare and File an Application With the USPTO.

Can I apply patent for an idea?

Ideas cannot be patented. So, you do not have an idea, you have an invention, or you will have an invention if you continue on your journey and don't give up. You just need to get from the idea that inevitably begins the process to an invention, which is the culmination of the innovation part of the journey.

Can I patent python code?

The function of your code would fall under the “utility patent” umbrella, which covers the actual use and utility of an invention. Since other companies are already performing similar functions, just getting there in a different way, your utility would not be unique and novel, and therefore cannot be patented.

Why is it difficult to patent software?

Software is harder to visualise – there may be multiple technology layers in an implementation stack and many non-essential interoperating parts. This can often lead to poor patent specifications and misunderstandings. Also if a patent claim is too specific then it will be easy for a software developer to work around.

How long does a software patent last?

Patent protection for software lasts 20 years.

What are the 3 types of patents?

What kind of patent do you need? There are three types of patents - Utility, Design, and Plant. Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or compositions of matters, or any new useful improvement thereof.

How much does it cost to patent an idea?

Need Help? A patent attorney will usually charge between $8,000 and $10,000 for a patent application, but the cost can be higher. In most cases, you should budget between $15,000 and $20,000 to complete the patenting process for your invention.

How do you sell an idea to a company without them stealing it?

You can sell an idea to a company without a patent. You need a way to stop them from stealing the idea from you. One way to do that without a patent is with a nondisclosure agreement, aka NDA. The NDA would limit the company's ability to use your idea without paying you for it.

How can I get a patent with no money?

The Patent Pro Bono Program attempts to match inventors with registered patent agents or patent attorneys. These practitioners volunteer their time without charging the inventor. However, the inventor still must pay all fees that are required by the USPTO; these cannot be paid by the practitioner.

What types of ideas can be patented?

There are three main types of patents: utility, design, and plant patents. Of these, utility patents are the type that most inventors usually apply for. Utility: A utility patent protects the creation of new or improved products, processes, compositions of matter, or machines that are useful.

Is it hard to get a patent?

Since patents are legal articles, they can be somewhat difficult to obtain. Patent applications vary from country to country, depending on what you're trying to get a patent for.

Why do we patent software?

From a technical standpoint, your software may be patentable (1) if it improves computer functionality in some way (i.e. it enables certain computations that were previously unavailable, speeds up processes, or requires fewer resources), or (2) if it solves a computing challenge in an unconventional way.

Can you patent a programming language?

"No, computer programming languages are not copyrightable.

Can software be a trade secret?

Software is also protectable as a trade secret, if, as is typically the case, the basis of the alleged misappropriation is not unauthorized copying, but rather a breach of contract, trust, confidence or other duty in acquiring, using or disclosing any confidential form or portion of the software, such as the software's ...

What type of software is a patent?

A software patent is a property right that protects computer programs or any performance of a computer from computer programs. A software patent is considered a type of utility patent with no true legal definition. Software patents are a topic of controversy both in the United states and around the world.

Can you patent digital products?

Digital patents can be divided into three categories based on their technological content: Technical approach patents, Functional operation patents, and Use case application patents. The three categories are defined in Exhibits 1-3. Digital patents can cover one, two, or all three categories.

Should software be copyrighted or patented?

Any software program, whether there is an inventive aspect involved or not, is protected under copyright. However, the dilemma of whether to opt for patent protection arises when there is an inventive aspect associated with a software product or a process.

What can and Cannot be patented?

  • something that can be made or used (capable of industrial application)
  • new.
  • inventive – not just a modification to something that already exists.

How much does a 20 year patent cost?

The full cost of obtaining and maintaining a U.S. patent over 20 years is in the range of $20,000 to $60,000. This sum is influenced by the type of technology being patented; the number of claims and drawings included in the application; the number and nature of rejections from USPTO; filing fees, etc.

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How to patent software idea

Comment by Markita Tubergen

it's your phone look like this dude these little icons these apps on your phone how many do you have a couple dozen maybe more than that do you have an idea for one that could improve our lives maybe you've got one that just plain looks cool can you patent it hello my name is JD governor registered USPTO patent attorney and Managing Partner here at bold patents law firm today I want to dive in to helping you better understand how to patent an app I want you to know that we have time stamps down below in this video for you to jump ahead to specific keywords that you're looking for you can hang in there with me I love free to stay with me for the full video and a supplement I've written a blog article to go into each of these subjects in more details so please go to bold IP com forward slash blog today to click on that blog article all right let's jump into the content here step number one software and enter ship and ownership this is key I usually work with inventors that are just starting out and one of the things I always flag initially is I ask hey what is your day job some of them are working on the project on the side moonlighting and it's a key part of making sure we have protections for that inventor to look at their employment contract making sure that their employer isn't going to own what they're inventing so before we get started and certain before we take their money I want to make sure we're clear about ownership secondly is it's almost always the case that people are working together when it comes to software there's so many moving parts whether its development user testing getting things off the ground you're usually working with more than one person so co-inventors need to be pulled in very early in the process so that we get as much about the invention upfront step 2 researching other apps and this is something I encourage my inventors to do before they start working with us and before we start moving too much further along we've got to make sure that they're convinced that what they're doing is new it's okay that's not new and right plenty of products have been successful in the market but that's the foundational principle to get a patent as it must be novel so take a look research other apps and prove to yourself that what you're doing is different step 3 you've got to find a software patent attorney someone that is educated not just in the law but understands new tech so a software patent attorney is one that's going to help walk you through the details of the specification the way that formatting is gonna work on the drawings user interfaces graphical user interfaces digital virtual reality interfaces cutting-edge right this is super important you have an attorney and only with the legal background but someone that has that software background in terms of Education and work with inventions that have been successfully patented step four software app invention disclosure this is one of those exciting parts about what I get to do is hear that the guts how the secret sauce right of how you're getting your invention to work it's actually hard believe it or not to get inventors to totally open up right even with patent attorneys we have to take sometimes one to two weeks to make sure we fully understand and the full scope and breadth of your invention so it's okay it's a natural process if we understand there's some hesitation there's even some issues where you're not sure how some things work that's okay that's part of the beauty of inventing is there's always ways to improve always ways to keep on developing step five is a professional software patent search you bet we're gonna start with building a foundation built on research and diligence our team is experts at searching worldwide so look at all previous patents that have been filed and any non patent literature which can include academic literature publications on Kickstarter social media you name it anything the examiners gonna find later we want to find it first filing a provisional or non provisional patent application for your out that's next if we've done the search and confirm it what you've got is new we're gonna recommend that you file either a provisional or non provisional patent application again please take a look at our blog I've got a wonderful explanation of the difference between the each of those I won't go into that detail here but I will say that getting that filing date is critical and for some of these technologies that are changing every four to five years we will probably recommend that you follow a non-provisional patent application first to make sure you get your rights as soon as possible last but not least filing the application with the USPTO this is the least glamorous process right but we're gonna work with you with our paralegals to get the application datasheet invention disclosure statement and all the right both and declaration documents put together so that your invention is filed properly the right way the first time I will leave you with this grab a copy of our book I've got a free digital download for you today if you go to bold IP comm 4 slash free this is we'll go through all the differences of patent law in general the differences between trademark copyright and trade secret I'm so glad you watched this video go big Doble you

Thanks for your comment Markita Tubergen, have a nice day.
- Katheleen Ingwerson, Staff Member

Comment by Dumbeln5

good morning in this video we're going to go over how to patent software you shall learn what exactly are software patents and how are they different from other types of patents and how to actually go about filing your software patent application and if you stick around and watch this video to the end I will show you exactly where you can download a free template and free information to get started writing your own software patent application my name is Brad flash I've been filing patent applications for over 11 years I'm a registered patent agent with the US Patent and Trademark Office I filed over 500 different patent applications and a variety of areas including many software patent applications and I'm a certified licensing professional so Before we jump into software patents let's talk a little bit about the different types of patents you can choose from when you have a new invention if your new invention was a new type of plant you would file a plant patent if your new invention was a new design like a new coke bottle design you would file a design patent what we're going to be talking about here for software patents are called utility patents which mean they're something that has a unique and usefulness to them and so there's different types of utility patent applications so it's a provisional patent application a non provisional continuation CIP and divisional and that's just a few of them if you want to learn more about the different types of patent applications you can visit patent file org so software patents or software patent applications are a type of utility patent applications now utility patent applications are either compositions of matter so these are things like widgets or tools the traditional things you think of when you think of a new patent or a new invention but they can also include things like methods so in the past say a new chemical process our new biotechnology process those would all be protected as method patents and that's been you know around for 100 or so years here in the United States recently within the past you know a few decades people have been able to get patents on methods performed by software and so that's where the term software patents come from they're basically any methods that are performed by a computer and so software can be protected two different ways the software code is actually protected under copyright and so that's really easy to protect your software code by copyright but if your software code is more than just code you know it's more than just a website or more than just a blog it's actually a really neat piece of software that can perform a new and useful method or function then that would also fall under the patentable category and so you could actually protect it by software I mean by a copyright and by a software patent you should know that it's getting harder and harder to get software patents allowed you know ten or fifteen years ago you could probably get a really broad software patent allowed on say a method of purchasing an item online adding it to a shopping cart nowadays it's you know very hard to get those type of broad software patents and rightfully so I think a lot of people abuse the software patent system and so who uses software patents all the big technologies company all the big technology companies do and it's probably one of the most valuable type of patents you can have at least nowadays it's important to know the best time to file your software patents a lot of developers don't realize this but if you publish your software online or you make it available for sale you can actually block yourself from getting a patent if you don't already have your patent filed first so I always tell people you should really try to get your patent filed first at least file a provisional patent application it's very cheap and easy to do do that before you launch your product or launch your software because you might lose your patent rights if you don't follow it in that order now in the United States we get this twelve month grace period which means if you want patent protection in the United States and you did launch your software first that's okay you have 12 months from the date your software first went public to get your patent filed and so this is a typical timeline if you have your idea you should do a kind of basic patent search make sure no one else is doing what you think is novel build your prototype or your alpha or your beta version of your software then file your provisional patent before you show anyone or have it available to the public once your provisional patents filed then you can do your alpha or your beta launch or a soft launch to see how well your software is doing maybe find some customers find some investors build up some buzz about your software product then file your non provisional patent that has to be filed within a year from the date you filed your provisional patent and that's kind of the real patent that goes through the patent process and ultimately issues with a patent number and then your patent will expire 20 years from the date you filed it so there's only two ways that you can apply for a software patent or any patent for that matter in the United States you can hire a registered patent agent or patent attorney to write it for you on the cheaper end that's going to be about a thousand dollars we've paid all the way up to $40,000 at the University where I work for a very complicated software patent the second option is to do it yourself as the inventor you can write and file your own patent application yourself and I'll show you how to do that in video 2 which is coming up next if you do want to download a software patent template or see what different examples of software patents look like you can go to our website patent file org slash software so again a video 2 will show you how to file a software patent and what the important things are that should be included in a software patent if you have any questions here's my email address please email me and if you like this video if it was useful to you please hit the like button thank you

Thanks Dumbeln5 your participation is very much appreciated
- Katheleen Ingwerson

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