For patent application purposes, software can be considered as a virtual machine, a set of code capable of performing the same function as and replacing an electronic/electrical circuitry. A set of codes or instructions that a computer can read and execute, i.e., software, on its own is not patentable subject matter. It is the machine, process or function employing the code that is patentable. To patent software, it should meet the basic requirements of patentability. It must be new, useful, non-obvious, statutory and most importantly claimed in an appropriate manner.The principal patent attorney has some general requirements for a software patent application. Click here to find out what information we need from the inventor to conduct a prior art search and prepare a draft of the patent application for a software concept.
Copyright law protects a software code as an original work of authorship. It allows the copyright owner to prevent others from directly copying the source code. However, copyright protection cannot assure complete protection in terms of preventing other entities from using the functional aspects of software. Also, it provides no security if a similar code is proved to have been independently developed whereas patents do.
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