Software Patents

Can computer software be patented ?

Yes, filing a patent, Even though you can’t get a patent on a mathematical formula, you may be able to get protection for a specific application of a formula. Thus, software may qualify for a patent if the patent application produces a useful, concrete and tangible result.

In July 1998, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit addirmed the patentability of business method related software in States Street Bank & trust Co. v. Signature Financial Group (“State Street”). According to the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, this decision has triggered a “boom” in patent application filings.

Since 1998, software patents have been granted for a wide variety of inventions including software applications, software processes, and software compilers. Software follows the same rules of patenting as any other invention. Patentable subject matter includes “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.” The term ”process” means process, art or method, and includes a new use of a known process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or material. Some things to keep in mind when applying for a software patent application:

Software related patent applications may take longer to obtain than the life cycle of the product;

The areas of software and hardware are extremely litigious;

Drafting software patent applications can be time consuming and be costly.

While a software patent application may be costly, failure to obtain patent protection can be more costly. Damage awards continue to increase every year and do not appear to slowing down. Some notable awards:

DCS Communications v. General Instruments – $140 million;

Stac Electronics v. Microsoft – $120 million;

MercExchange v. eBay – $35 million At Meredith & Keyhani patent law firm we have experience in filing patent applications and can help you to protect your software related invention.

Let us know how we may help you. Email us at info@meredithkeyhani.com or call us at the patent law firm office nearest you.