Patenting Software

Can software be patented? Patenting software, is the same as patenting anything else, and, it can all be done online from the comfort of your home or workshop. The complex nature of the requirements means you might want professional help. Only patent attorneys and agents can help with patenting software (or anything else for that matter). So, check to be sure your help is a licensed patent practitioner.

Software Patents are regular patents. They need all the usual information and materials. They must meet all the usual criteria for patenting. In particular, software patent applications need extra focus and attention given to three things. Firstly, good flowcharts showing each step of the process. Secondly, detailed descriptions of the code (algorithms). Thirdly, a good explanation of how the software works with the hardware or machine.

The first step is to determine what is the core of your innovation. How does the software interact with the hardware? How does the software process data? Is it a method? A system? An apparatus? A network? Is it the processing of data or perhaps even the software itself?

Basic Requirements to Patenting Software.

What are the basic requirements to be eligible for patent protection?

There are five criteria. Firstly, the invention must consist of patent eligible subject matter. Secondly, it must be novel (new). Thirdly, the invention must be useful. Fourthly, it must be non-obvious (i.e. involve an inventive step). Lastly, the disclosure of the invention must meet the formal and substantive requirements.

What is patent eligible subject matter?

Patent eligible subject matter is a claim to a new process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter.

Unless the claims recite elements that are significantly more the claims cannot be directed to these three things. Firstly, laws of nature. Secondly, natural phenomenon. Lastly, abstract ideas.

Frequently, the opinion of a patent practitioner is very helpful in making this determination.

What is novelty?

An invention seeking patent protection must be new. In software patenting there is a general guideline for what is new. If it has been done by hand it is not new.

In other words, if the software is doing something that has been done by hand it is not patentable.

This particular idea gets in the way of a lot of software patenting applications. Seek professional patent practitioner consultation if this is not clear.

What is useful?

An invention must be useful. A practical purpose. Something not illegal.

What is non-obvious?

The invention must not be obvious to a person having usual skill in the art at the time of filing. If it has been done by hand it is obvious to create software to do it.

What are the disclosure requirements?

There are both formal and substantive requirements to file for patent protection. Generally you will need to disclose everything necessary to implement your invention. Specifically, for software patents there are some disclosure areas to focus on. Getting good flowcharts, descriptions, and explanations in the initial application is essential. We highly recommend professional help with patent drafting and filing.

Software patent applications need extra focus and attention given to three things. Firstly, good flowcharts showing each step of the process. Secondly, detailed descriptions of the code (algorithms). Thirdly, a good explanation of how the software works with the hardware or machine.


Software Patentability Requirements Are Not The Same in All Countries.

A patent granted on one country can only be enforced in that country. So, if you want protection for your invention abroad, you will need to obtain a patent in each country in which you want protection. The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) offers an international filing system. With a PCT, the applicant can submit a single application to all member countries. A PCT has the same effect as filing national applications in each of the member countries. Most countries are members.

The laws and practices for seeking a patent differ from one country or region to another. Here is an example. The European Patent Convention expressly excludes computer programs per se and methods of doing business per se. But, the United States has no specific exclusion.

Consult a Patent Attorney or Agent when Patenting Software.

We recommend you don’t try patenting your software yourself. Keep in mind that you are the expert on your software. Coming up with a good new invention is your thing. Drafting a good patent application is our thing. Carson Patents offers all of our services for patenting software online.

Good patent application drafting is very important – for at least these two reasons. Firstly, once filed, making amendments to the description is difficult. Amendments are generally viewed as new matter, and new matter is not allowed. Note: any revision in claims must be supported by the original specification. So, it is important to be complete and accurate the first time. And secondly, getting a software patent requires appropriate claim construction. There are many proper claim construction rules. Claim construction often requires professional help.

There is a cost to professional help. However, the benefits in seeking patent protection are usually well worth it.

Disclaimer, nothing in this article constitutes legal advice.


Patenting Software Professional Expert Specialist Confidential Consultant Engineer Only patent attorneys and agents can do patents Prosecution help Online Patenting Software Get an expert confidential consultant to help with your invention or patent online. Contact Carson Patents. Our company: Software Experienced. Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. Biomedical Engineer. Patent Agent. Information Scientist. Get a quote to help file to protect your invention. We can help you apply for a patent. We can represent your patent and work with the USPTO for your invention. Confidential, Privileged Communication. Secure. Online Patent Help. Prior Art Searches. Patentability, Novelty, and Prior Art Reviews. Patent applications filed online. Contact us to apply for the patent to protect your: invention, idea. Online expert help filing US and International Patent Applications is here.

Contact Us 🤙909.215.9091


Patenting Software Professional Expert Specialist Confidential Consultant Engineer Only patent attorneys and agents can do patents Prosecution help Online Get an expert confidential consultant to help with your invention or patent online. Contact Carson Patents. Our company: Software Experienced. Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. Biomedical Engineer. Patent Agent. Information Scientist. Get a quote to help file to protect your invention. We can help you apply for a patent. We can represent your patent and work with the USPTO for your invention. Confidential, Privileged Communication. Secure. Online Patent Help. Prior Art Searches. Patentability, Novelty, and Prior Art Reviews. Patent applications filed online. Contact us to apply for the patent to protect your: invention, idea. Online expert help filing US and International Patent Applications is here.

Gregory D Carson Patents is verified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). We are verified by the VA as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) . We are listed on the VA’s Vendor Information Pages (VIP) at https://www.vip.vetbiz.va.gov/.

Patenting Software Online 🤙909.215.9091. Remember only patent attorneys and agents can help with patenting software or anything else.

How to do a Patent Search?

Patent Searching Basics.

Patent Searching Basics. How to Start a Patent Search. Prior Art Searching. Inputs to an Invention or Patent Search. Where to Start a Patent Search.

A basic Patent Search is researching various data sources to determine if there is prior art that discloses your invention. Prior art is existing patents, patent applications, and publications (non-patent literature). It is found around the world. Prior art is those existing documents that are similar to your invention, or describe your invention.

What you need?

You will need three things for input into the search engines to do a patent search. You will need the following:

  • Description
  • Keywords
  • Classification

Description:

The place to start a patent search is with the description of the invention. A description of the invention that is just a simple sentence or two is the easiest to work with. A concise description is easier to work with. This is because what you will need for actual searching in databases is just the right few keywords and the right classification(s) for the invention. You are looking to locate all the existing products and processes that are the most similar to our invention.

Keywords:

The description is used to develop a good set of keywords to use for searching. The best keywords to use are those terms and phrases about the invention and its field of use that describe it most accurately and completely. A good concise description will be simpler to use. The concise description likely already has many if not all of the keywords that you will need to start a search.

Classification:

The final piece to the input for a patent search is the classification. The classification system to use is the CPC Scheme (find it on the USPTO website). The CPC is the Cooperative Patent Classification system. The CPC (like all classification systems) categorizes inventions into classes. The idea is that all the other inventions that are like your invention will be in the same class(es). Searching by class is essential to a complete patent search.

TIP: If you don’t know or can’t find the class(es) for your invention, one place to start is the class(es) of the patents that you find with keyword searching. After you find a patent similar to your invention, you can use that patents classification as a starting point for your invention.

Places to Search | Where to Search | What Data Sources to Search

You should search the following data sources, at a minimum. The more places searched the more complete the search. However, the following list of sources will give you a good start. And, quite likely, more prior art (existing stuff like yours) than you were expecting.

  • United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) – uspto.gov
  • European Patent Office (EPO) – epo.org
  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) – wipo.int
  • Google Patents – patents.google.com

Steps to Patent Searching for Prior Art | Conducting the Patent Database Search for Prior Art

Step 1: Use the keywords to Search the USPTO or Google Patents databases. You are looking for products or processes that are similar to or describe your invention.

Step 2: After the initial search. Review the Results. – Assess, Evaluate, Refine keywords and classification(s) to narrow the results. You are looking for only those products or processes that are the most similar to your invention. The more specific the keywords are the better the results will be.

Step 3: Use refined keywords and classification(s) for Full Search of all data sources to be searched. An exhaustive search would include databases from many countries in many languages all over the planet. At a minimum, the databases available at the USPTO, the EPO, WIPO, and Google Patents should be searched.

What your Searching for | What your Looking for …

There are two things that you are looking for in the information that you discover in the databases.

First, whether the invention is described in the prior art. Is your invention already available, or described in the existing patents, patent applications, and publications (prior art) around the world?

Second, whether the claims of the invention are novel. Is your invention new, or already described in the prior art (the existing patents, patent applications, and publications)?


Get help with your invention. Contact Carson Patents Patent Agent. Get a quote to help search, file (apply). Get a quote to represent your invention with the USPTO. Help with filing USPTO Patents and Patent Applications is at carsonpatents.com. Check out the about page.

Get prior art search help with your invention or patent online. Consult Carson Patents, Software Experienced Biomedical Engineer, Patent Agent. Get a quote to help file, apply, and represent your idea and work with the USPTO for your invention. Confidential, Privileged Communication. Contact us to apply for the patent for your invention. Online consulting help filing US and International Patent Applications is here.

Gregory D Carson Patents is verified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). We are verified by the VA as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) . We are listed on the VA’s Vendor Information Pages (VIP) at https://www.vip.vetbiz.va.gov/.

Get a consultant to help with your invention or patent online. Contact Carson Patents.

About our company: Software Experienced. Electrical Engineering. Mechanical Engineering. Biomedical Engineer. Patent Agent.

Get a quote for help to file to protect your invention. We can represent your patent and work with the USPTO for your invention.

Confidential, Privileged Communication. Online Service: Patent Help. Prior Art Searches. Patentability, Novelty, and Prior Art Reviews. Contact us to apply for the patent to protect your invention, or idea. Online help filing US and International Patent Applications is here.  

Web Presence Costs

The Cost of Hanging out a Shingle (i.e. word of mouth advertising) 21st Style:

What are Web Presence Costs? The costs of setting up a website so you can get listed on search engines.

Hanging out a shingle is what a newly licensed doctor or lawyer does to start their own practice. Of course, this practice of hanging out a shingle extends to many other professions as well. For example, I am a patent agent, and I too hung out a shingle (CarsonPatents.com). This article was written as a post on my shingle.

I do ponder what it might have been like to hang a shingle in times past. I suspect it was both easier and harder in different ways, but mostly just a different time. In today’s language, hanging out a shingle is putting up a website.

Word of mouth is people “sharing” with each other about things they like and don’t like. Of course, this idea ‘word of mouth,’ like hanging out a shingle, is still essentially the same as it has always been. Today … LinkedIn, my website, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, and many others keep track of what people share and keep it available for other people. Today, word of mouth and social media mean much the same thing.

The ideas are the same, and the pursuit is same, hanging a shingle and spreading the word by word of mouth that we are open for business.

Web Presence Costs more than a Shingle:

In the past, an actual shingle, several trips to local businesses and community centers sharing the news, and the actual license to practice was what it took to get started. People got their license, nailed up a shingle, and went about sharing the news and their skills by word of mouth.

Today, if you have the license in order to hang a shingle and spread the word by word of mouth, here is what you will need: (1) a domain name, (2) a host for said domain name, (3) a website on said host, (4) an online bank account, (5) an online payment processing system, (6) an online email, calendaring, and to do list host with online sharing system, (7) at least several social media accounts, publicly shared, and (8) the best source of information around to get actual explanations and answers for the questions that come up as you assemble all the previous items (1) through (7).

Web Presence Costs: $400

Hanging a shingle and sharing today costs about $400 (reasonably safe and secure online). A web presence for $400! I do ponder what this would cost in times past. I suspect in adjusted dollar value, the cost was about the same. Provided the person hanging the shingle is (8) the best source of information available to get actual explanations and answers for the questions that come up as you assemble all the previous items, the rest costs about $400 (per year).

Shingle hanging items (1) through (6) will cost you about $400 per year. Of course, you have item (7), and set up many social media accounts, for no money at all.

You can even get fancy and offer online appointment scheduling and product pages that let people buy your services or products for another hundred or two, depending on what you want to add and offer.

The internet itself can be (8) the best source of information available to get actual explanations and answers for the questions that come up as you assemble all the previous items. Just be sure to do your due diligence where and when you are at risk.

Hanging out a shingle today costs about $400 for everything you need. (1) a domain name, (2) a host for said domain name, (3) a website on said host, (4) an online bank account, (5) an online payment processing system, (6) an online email, calendaring, and to do list host with online sharing system, (7) at least several social media accounts, publicly shared, and (8) the best source of information available to get actual explanations and answers about hanging a shingle.

Consulting Help:

If you want help with due diligence for (8) the best source of information available to get actual explanations and answers about hanging a shingle, people like me are likely your best choice. While I am not usually available (the number of clients is very small, I am a full time patent agent, but there is a link to schedule an appointment on my web-presence connections at the bottom of my website if I am); I do have relationships with several of the best web-presence consultants around. Contact me for a referral. Get control of your web presence costs.


Web Presence Costs. Get prior art search help with your invention or patent online. Consult Carson Patents, Software Experienced Biomedical Engineer, Patent Agent. Get a quote to help file, apply, and represent your idea and work with the USPTO for your invention. Confidential, Privileged Communication. Contact us to apply for the patent for your invention. Online consulting help filing US and International Patent Applications is here.

Gregory D Carson Patents is verified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). We are verified by the VA as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) . We are listed on the VA’s Vendor Information Pages (VIP) at https://www.vip.vetbiz.va.gov/.


Get a consultant to help with your invention or patent online. Contact Carson Patents. About our company: Software Experienced. Electrical Engineering. Mechanical Engineering. Biomedical Engineer. Patent Agent. Get a quote for help to file to protect your invention. We can represent your patent and work with the USPTO for your invention. Confidential, Privileged Communication. Online Service: Patent Help. Prior Art Searches. Patentability, Novelty, and Prior Art Reviews. Contact us to apply for the patent to protect your invention, or idea. Online help filing US and International Patent Applications is here.  

What is a 188 Claim?

A 188 Claim, is a claim (application) for a patent for your invention. It is the filing of the necessary documentation of your invention to apply for a patent.  

When I was studying for the USPTO Patent Registration Exam, I was fascinated by the fact that our Constitution was the source of the law that gives us the right to claim a patent. The ‘188 Claim’, is my shorthand version of a reference to a single sentence that is at Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution. That sentence reads, “To promote the Progress of Science and useful arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” 

While this special sentence also speaks to copyrights, because I was focused on getting my registration as a patent agent, I always treated my shorthand ‘188 Claim’ as a patent thing. It does not seem inaccurate to use the 188 Claim idea for copyrights, but to me it has always been about claiming your right to a patent. 

Your right to a patent (if allowed) is your right to control the making, using, and selling of your invention. To me, this is a powerful thing, and thus it deserved a simple easy to remember shorthand. Since the more formal version of shorthand for the reference to that special sentence in the Constitution is I.8.8., and 188 is so much faster and easier to write, my shorthand note for filing a patent application became the ‘188 Claim’.

Thus, the 188 Claim was born.

188 Claim. Get prior art search help with your invention or patent online. Consult Carson Patents, Software Experienced Biomedical Engineer, Patent Agent. Get a quote to help file, apply, and represent your idea and work with the USPTO for your invention. Confidential, Privileged Communication. Contact us to apply for the patent for your invention. Online consulting help filing US and International Patent Applications is here.

Gregory D Carson Patents is verified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). We are verified by the VA as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) . We are listed on the VA’s Vendor Information Pages (VIP) at https://www.vip.vetbiz.va.gov/.

Get a consultant to help with your invention or patent online. Contact Carson Patents. About our company: Software Experienced. Electrical Engineering. Mechanical Engineering. Biomedical Engineer. Patent Agent. Get a quote for help to file to protect your invention. We can represent your patent and work with the USPTO for your invention. Confidential, Privileged Communication. Online Service: Patent Help. Prior Art Searches. Patentability, Novelty, and Prior Art Reviews. Contact us to apply for the patent to protect your invention, or idea. Online help filing US and International Patent Applications is here.

Patent Agent Legal Services

What Legal Service/Advice can you get from a Patent Agent, and is it Confidential/Privileged?

Patent Agent Legal Services? When it comes to legal rights, in pertinent part, property rights, there are licensed professionals who offer help in exercising or protecting your rights. Lawyers. For patents there are patent practitioners (agent or attorney) to deal with these special rights.

Patents are Intellectual Property and need a Patent Practitioner not an Attorney:

Patents are a kind of property, specifically intellectual property. A patent, the legal right claimed under Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the US Constitution. A patent is the right to prevent others from making, using, or selling your invention. Property rights are your rights to enforce. You can do this yourself, but usually it is far more effective and efficient to hire a professional as the patent laws are complex and detailed.  An improperly filed and/or drafted patent application may prevent you from asserting your rights against potential infringers. 

The professionals that deal with personal property, real property, and intellectual property are lawyers, with one exception. Among the bundle of intellectual property rights are  patents. The USPTO issues patents, and registers professionals to practice before the office. Being a lawyer does not permit them to practice before the USPTO. Registration requires a separate application and examination process. To be allowed to communicate with the USPTO (“prosecute”) on a client’s behalf regarding a patent, an attorney needs to take an additional bar exam.

Patents need a Patent Agent or Patent Attorney:

Only those licensed to practice before the USPTO can prosecute a patent. Only patent practitioners (patent agents and patent attorneys) can prosecute patents; non-patent attorneys cannot. Whether a patent practitioner is agent or attorney is determined by whether they are a member in good standing of some state’s legal bar. In other words a lawyer. Thus, while patent agents prosecute only patents, patent attorneys can also prosecute other legal rights. 

Legal Advice on Patenting comes from Patent Agents or Patent Attorneys:

Patent agents are not authorized or licensed to give legal advice in general. With that said, the US Supreme Court has held that patent agent activities incident to the preparation and prosecution of patent applications, even beyond the representation before the USPTO, like advising on potential patentability of an invention is permitted.

Patent agents can give legal advice during the drafting and prosecution of patent applications. However, this is not open ended. The usual forms of this legal advice are opinions on prior art, novelty, patentability, patent validity, and infringement. Patent agents can help with ownership and licensing by clearing up legal misconceptions about patents and recording assignments. Patent agents can also handle reexamination proceedings before the USPTO if the prior art shows that the claims should be narrowed or cancelled. 

For stuff like Infringement Lawsuits, you need an Attorney:

However, for some patent related matters like lawsuits for infringement, assignments, or employer/employee rights, you should discuss these things with an attorney who specializes in that area. Your best attorney choice may not be a patent attorney. I maintain relationships with attorneys I trust should you need to engage an attorney and need a referral.

Communication with a Patent Agent is Confidential (i.e. covered by client controlled privilege):

The advice and interaction with a patent agent is covered by the same confidentiality standard as an attorney. Client communication is held in confidence and is protected under privilege. Patent agents hold the same basic professional liability insurance as that held by attorneys, just limited to the practice of patent prosecution. 

Gregory D Carson, Patent Agent

Get prior art search help with your invention or patent online. Consult Carson Patents, Software Experienced Biomedical Engineer, Patent Agent. Get a quote to help file, apply, and represent your idea and work with the USPTO for your invention. Confidential, Privileged Communication. Contact us to apply for the patent for your invention. Online consulting help filing US and International Patent Applications is here.

Gregory D Carson Patents is verified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). We are verified by the VA as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) . We are listed on the VA’s Vendor Information Pages (VIP) at https://www.vip.vetbiz.va.gov/.


Get a consultant to help with your invention or patent online. Contact Carson Patents. About our company: Software Experienced. Electrical Engineering. Mechanical Engineering. Biomedical Engineer. Patent Agent. Get a quote for help to file to protect your invention. We can represent your patent and work with the USPTO for your invention. Confidential, Privileged Communication. Online Service: Patent Help. Prior Art Searches. Patentability, Novelty, and Prior Art Reviews. Contact us to apply for the patent to protect your invention, or idea. Online help filing US and International Patent Applications is here.