Skilled Protection Of Software Innovations Through Patents
Inventions and designs, including some software applications, must be protected in order to preserve the innovation and its profitability. A patent is just one type of intellectual property protection that can be used to secure the rights to some software applications and prevent others from illegally benefitting from the same software.
With offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Atlanta, Georgia, we at Christensen, Fonder, Dardi prosecute software patents and provide other comprehensive intellectual property services to clients throughout the country. Our lawyers have years of experience handling patent prosecution for businesses and individuals who have vast IP portfolios or are just starting their quest for IP protections.
What’s Involved In Obtaining A Software Patent
When seeking a software patent, it is essential to understand what is being protected. Since software itself is a process that is implemented by a computer or another device, it may seem as though copyright would be needed instead of a patent. However, the functionalities and results of the software are key to the patent.
The description of the software and related processes to be patented must be incredibly detailed and thorough. One small variation may mean the difference between securing a patent for your software and the innovation infringing on an existing patent. Our firm consults with businesses and individual inventors at any stage of the process of seeking a software patent, including the initial stages which would involve a search for any existing, similar patents.
There are unique hurdles that must be overcome in order to obtain a software patent. Understanding the law and properly framing a patent application are crucial steps in overcoming these hurdles. Performing these steps with diligence and care requires attorneys, such as those at Christensen, Fonder, Dardi, who have years of experience specifically in filing and prosecuting applications for software patents.
Subject Matter Eligibility
According to U.S.C. 35 § 101, “Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.” While some elements are relatively self-evident, such as machine or composition of matter, other inventions have been interpreted over time by the courts, which have held that inventive concepts which are strictly “abstract ideas” are not patentable.
Supreme Court Decision
Software often toes the line between purely “abstract ideas” and patentable subject matter. In 2014, the Supreme Court rendered a decision on software patent eligibility in Alice v. CLS Bank which continues to be interpreted and shapes the way that attorneys and the USPTO approach software patent applications.
Determining whether software is patent eligible requires analyzing two essential questions:
- Do inventive aspects of the software include additional elements that integrate the “abstract idea” into a Practical Application?
- Do inventive aspects of the software include additional elements that would amount to Significantly More than the “abstract idea”?
Christensen, Fonder, Dardi excels in analyzing these issues for our clients. Proper analysis is crucial to framing a software patent application for examination by the USPTO and further for patents that can survive judicial scrutiny.
Working With Our Firm
The laws that govern patents and other intellectual property, especially those that involve technology such as software, are often modified. As an IP-focused law firm, we stay abreast of any changes to the laws and understand how they may affect our clients’ innovations and technological inventions. Laws for software patents also vary widely from country to country. Clients who wish to file in multiple countries will appreciate Christensen, Fonder, Dardi‘s vast experience in international patent prosecution.
Our firm is proactive in protecting your software designs and inventions, not only seeking the initial patent but also handling litigation involving any infringement on your software patent. Trust us to comprehensively complete all IP due diligence that is required for your software patent case.
Talk To Our Firm About Your Software Patent Questions
We are here for innovators, inventors and businesses who have questions and concerns about software patents. Begin the process by contacting our firm via phone at 612-315-4100. We can also be reached via email.