With the astounding growth the IT sector has witnessed over the past decades, the software market is rapidly expanding. In addition to this, software is the key which distinguishes and adds value to many other products ranging from automobiles to cell phones. So not surprisingly, software patents have also grown in importance as they prevent competitors from taking advantage of one’s software inventions.
But patenting software isn’t a cake walk; many software innovators are unclear about the process of patenting software. Recent 2014 Supreme Court decisions provide some clarity on software patents, but also raises new issues requiring clarification. Patenting software requires a great deal of patent preparation. Patent preparation is a process which makes sure that the request for the patent isn’t rejected.
How to File a Software Patent Application
Patent preparation usually begins with the patent attorney’s review process. A thorough patent review helps to determine if the subject matter of the invention is worthy enough to get patented. The process involves looking for similar inventions which deal with similar software inventions. Once it is asserted that the given software is unique, the patent application process be undertaken.
After the inventors are satisfied that the claims and drawings accurately capture the invention, a patent preparation specialist drafts the application. The patent application is drafted, keeping in mind the multiple technical obstacles which can get in the way while getting the patent. The period for the review of this patent application is 1-3 years. The examiner of the application usually begins with a number of requirements, but if the patent is efficiently prepared, then your patent attorney can find a number of effective ways to deal with objections.
Quite often, the patent application gets rejected for the first time, as the examiner rejects all or most of the claims because of “prior art” that is found in the examiner’s own research. The most common reasons for a rejection is that your invention is not novel or was obvious. Your patent attorney will use their expertize related with patent preparation, and analyze these rejections, and determine which of the arguments are valid. After a discussion on the further strategy with the examiner and a good deal of persuasion, patent experts then file a formal response based on this strategy which the examiner considers again. Patent preparation can be a long process as sometimes a number of iterations is required before finding the right combination of language and scope to both protect your invention and have the claims of your patent application allowed by the examiner.
Software Patent Attorneys
Before you opt for any lawyer, it is often recommended to verify a couple of things. You should first of all make sure that the lawyer has the required qualifications, skills, knowledge, and training in handling the software patents. Take time to check his or her website, references, case history and check the patents he or she has handled in the past. Then talk to them. Do they talk to you or at you? Do they have a personality or are they dull? Would you like to work with them (energy, excitement, desire)? It is important to check these things in order to find the patent attorney that will fit your needs.
You also should research the fees as well, as it will help in comparing with other law professionals to meet your budget requirements. It is important to have some basic information ready for a patent attorney before going into a consultation.
Could you do this yourself? Yes, but the risk of completing the patent application alone is that you may fail in the patent process; which means you end up wasting a substantial amount of time and money and might lose your idea altogether!