The Pros and Cons of Seeking a Software Patent

09/28/2017 12:10 pm ET
DigitalVision/Getty Images
DigitalVision/Getty Images

Is computer software patentable? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Raad Ahmed, Raad Ahmed, on Quora:

Is computer software patentable? Possible? Yes. Easy? No.

Here’s why:

  • Software patents have a short shelf life. Software is unlike other inventions simply because of how quickly the old can be replaced with the new in a matter of a few short years. The real deal is that a patent application for software can take up to four years to complete. Typically, the commercial lifespan is long over by then.
  • Copyrights and trade secrets can often provide enough appropriate protection. Copyrights may protect certain aspects such as the source code or the layout, but not the actual idea. Likewise, trade secrets may also protect the source code and a few other software variables. Although neither provides total protection, they can offer a layer between your software invention and your competitors.

As I said, it’s not that you can’t get a software patent, but it may not be the best solution. Your best bet is to go over your options with an intellectual property attorney.

LawTrades can connect you with a qualified IP attorney that can answer your questions and guide you in the right direction. Our marketplace of attorneys differs from traditional law firms because they don’t have the outrageous overhead and you will have direct access to your attorney. 

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