Below is an article by Inside Counsel entitled “5 tips on how to get your software patents approved”
5 tips on how to get your software patents approved
By: Rich Steeves, Inside Counsel
Aug 28, 2014
Judd Hollas, CEO of EquityNet, explains what he has learned in the process of getting his patents approved
Patents are an important business asset for companies in any field, but in the software industry these days, it seems like they’re king. But after several recent Supreme Court rulings, Bilski v. Kappos and Alice Corp. v. CLS International, the path toward securing strong software patents has become trickier.
Fortunately, Judd Hollas, CEO of EquityNet, a business crowdfunding platform, has recommendations for getting software patents approved. EquityNet has five software patents, and has learned firsthand how to navigate these tricky waters, especially in the post-Bilski world.
STEP 1: Know what is patentable
This seems like a basic step, but it is an essential starting point. In order to be patentable, your technology needs to be novel, have utility and be non-obvious. It also has to be something manmade, though that is not usually a factor. Before you put pen to paper, Hollas recommends familiarizing yourself with these factors and making sure your idea fits all four criteria. In one of his original patent Hollas decided to file for a utility apparatus patent rather than a business method, and knowing the difference between the two, and why his idea fit in the former category, was an important first step for him.
STEP 2: Do a thorough prior art search
“You need to know what the landscape looks like,” Hollas explains. “You have to look at the U.S. and worldwide, consider everything from prior applications and grants to thesis papers and college research – anything you can discover.” He points out that patent examiners are overloaded and tend to lean on prior art searches within patent databases, often failing to go broadly into the educational domain. This may allow you to get the patent, but when trying to enforce, could present trouble. If the examiner did not find the prior art, you may end up having your patent thrown out.