Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Illinois

Q: Good morning, I would like to ask you if software or algorithm can be patented. Thank you for your time.

We have developed a new solution that is related to the way in which a device is able to analyze the data.

2 Lawyer Answers
Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC

A: There are many types of software. Some software running on a general purpose computer is the glue that holds together a business that works with people to achieve a purpose. While this software is important to the business, if it is merely a reflection of how the people interact together, then it is not likely to be patentable under current standards.

On the other hand, there is a lot of software that makes a machine do what it does better. Examples range from ultrasound machines down to dishwashing machines. This software may be patented if the new software is not an obvious recombination of known things.

New ways of analyzing data may be patentable. This is something that will requires a detailed conversation with a patent attorney to sort out. The patent attorney will not and cannot know everything that is possible prior art that the patent examiner may use in arguments to try to reject the patent application, but the patent attorney can tell you if the type of software would be rejected as not the right type of software to even try for a patent.

I hope that this helps.

Kevin E Flynn

Adrian Hocking agrees with this answer

Adrian Hocking
Adrian Hocking
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

A: In addition to the excellent previous answer, just also be aware that the patent laws in different countries/territories are not necessarily harmonised. Particularly where software is being protected, do consider at the outset where your markets downstream are likely to be, so that this can be taken into account when the original patent document is being prepared in readiness for prosecution. For example, my territory of patent expertise is Europe and the UK, and although patenting software is difficult, it is not necessarily impossible. Discussion and strategy/planning at the outset is critical to avoid wasting money. I hope that helps, best of luck progressing the idea, and please feel free to ask any further questions.

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