The Basics of Software Patents: What You Need to Know

In today’s fast-paced technological landscape, the development of innovative software has become a cornerstone of modern business operations. However, in this competitive environment, protecting these software innovations is crucial. This is where software patents play a vital role. Understanding the basics of software patents is essential for anyone involved in the tech industry or looking to safeguard their software creations.

Software Patents: An Overview

A software patent is a legal document that provides its owner with exclusive rights to a particular software innovation or invention. These patents grant inventors the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, or importing their patented software without their permission for a specific period. The primary purpose of software patents is to encourage innovation by providing protection and incentives for creators to invest in the development of new and inventive software solutions.

Criteria for Software Patent Eligibility

Not all software is eligible for patent protection. To qualify for a software patent, an invention must meet specific criteria. Firstly, the software must be novel, meaning it must be a new concept that has not been previously disclosed or publicly known. The software must also be non-obvious, implying that it cannot be an obvious extension or variation of existing technologies. Lastly, the software must have a practical application, demonstrating that it has a useful function and can be applied in a real-world context.

Challenges in Software Patenting

The realm of software patents is not without its challenges. One significant issue is the evolving nature of technology, which often renders software innovations outdated within a short period. This fast-paced evolution makes it challenging to determine the longevity of software patents and their relevance in a dynamic tech landscape. The complexity of software and the intricacies involved in understanding and evaluating its patentability pose a significant challenge for both patent examiners and inventors.

Importance of Software Patents for Businesses

Software patents play a crucial role in the business strategies of tech companies. They provide a competitive advantage by offering exclusive rights to a particular software product or service, thus preventing competitors from replicating or imitating the innovation. Software patents can be valuable assets, contributing to a company’s intellectual property portfolio and attracting potential investors or buyers. They also serve as a defensive mechanism, enabling companies to protect their software from infringement claims and potential legal disputes.

Navigating the Software Patenting Process

Obtaining a software patent involves a complex and rigorous process. It typically includes conducting thorough prior art searches to ensure the novelty of the software, preparing a detailed patent application outlining the software’s functionality, and working closely with a patent attorney to navigate the intricate legal requirements. Additionally, staying updated with the latest patent laws and regulations is crucial to ensure compliance with the evolving legal landscape surrounding software patents.

Software patents are essential for safeguarding and incentivizing innovation in the tech industry. Understanding the basics of software patents, including eligibility criteria, challenges, and the patenting process, is crucial for anyone involved in software development or technology businesses. By navigating the intricate world of software patents effectively, innovators can protect their intellectual property and gain a competitive edge in the ever-evolving tech landscape.

Protect your Patent

If you are looking for a trademark or software patent lawyer, reach out to Parsons and Goltry, PLLC. Learn more about patents and what you can do to protect yours by giving us a call. We are dedicated to protecting your trademarks and patents.

Client Approved


"Our company has worked with a number of patent attorneys and were so pleased when we began working with Parsons & Goltry nearly a decade ago. Mike Goltry's knowledge and attention to detail has enabled us to have numerous products patented and trademarks registered. We highly recommend this Law Firm."

- Sharon K.


"Michael Goltry is the most professional, honest and effective patent attorney whom I ever met in my 40 year professional engineering career. I started to work with him over 20 years ago and plan to work indefinitely."

- Zoltan Kemeny, PhD, Struct. Eng.


"Mr. Goltry took a provisional patent that we'd filed ourselves, and quickly and professionally turned our innovation into U.S. and foreign applications. His [patent claims] were a thing of beauty, and I was amazed by how deftly he countered the inevitable office actions. His language held up, and the U.S. Patent just issued. He was easy and efficient to work with, and his fees were remarkably reasonable. We're not planning to go anywhere else, ever."

- Ski Milburn, CEO, Victori, LLC


"I applied for a patent through Parsons & Goltry. After being on the docket for 2 years at the USPTO, I received notification that my patent request had been denied. Michael Goltry contacted me immediately to review my options. After I informed him of my decision to move forward, he filed a response to the USPTO. In his response he got the examiner to fully understand the claims in the patent application and the "denied" decision was reversed. I was able to secure and receive a "patent granted" decision. Thank you, Michael Goltry."

- Kathy H., Inventor


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