Most know nowadays that software-related aspects of an invention do not rule out obtaining a patent. However, carefully drafted applications are still essential.
This applies particularly for inventions in the fields of machine learning/artificial intelligence, blockchain, control systems and smartphone applications.
Briefly, software is patentable if its inventive features have a technical effect. Usually this means an effect on something outside the computer on which the software is run. Generally, if a method of doing something is patentable then so is a program implementing that method. Software that has a technical effect on a computer, altering the way it operates, is also patentable.
We receive enquiries from clients wishing to patent phone apps. Many apps are not patentable because they involve say, sharing photos and messages in known ways without making technical changes.
However, some apps do involve patentable inventions. We have for example filed an application to protect a picture sharing app which altered the way a phone processed image files for display. Specialist advice is essential – if in doubt, ask us.
Other areas of interest appear all the time and we have noted recent activity in the field of malware detection and blocking, especially during communication sessions. The borderline between patentable and unpatentable software can be difficult to navigate, and our attorneys will take care to properly disclose and emphasise the patentable aspects of your software innovations.