03 September 2018

Protecting the IP in your Software

When it comes to IP and your software, here are a few things to think about!

A common misconception is…
That it is not possible to patent software. Although computer programs per se are excluded from patentability, many software inventions are indeed patentable.

In general, you can obtain patents for inventions which are…
a) technical in nature and b) new and non-obvious.

These criteria apply to software inventions; however identifying the technical nature of these inventions can be more difficult. The question is whether the software addresses a technical problem, rather than merely addressing e.g. business needs.

Key indicators of patentable software inventions include…
Improvements (e.g. in terms of efficiency, resource usage, reliability, security) to the operation of external technical devices or processes or to the internal functioning of a computer system.

The most important thing is…
There is no simple, reliable rule and it is important to look at each case individually.

It’s not just about patents…

  • Does your software include a brand used to identify your product to customers? 
  • Does your software include a user interface?
  • Have you thought about licensing your software?

There are various means to protect the IP in your software, from registered rights such as patents and designs, through to copyright and trade marks.

Where there is commercial value in your software, we can help you protect it. 

We have extensive experience working with software companies from start-ups through to Silicon Valley multinationals. Our team can tease out which elements of your inventions might provide promising subject matter for a patent application alongside navigating the time frames and fine lines of applicable patentability criteria. Click to download a summary about software protection.

To discuss the IP in your software, please contact one of our attorneys or call 0207 830 0000.         

Miranda Kent
Managing Associate