What Information Is Needed for a Software Patent?

Thomas Weifan Mon

Associate Patent Attorney

Having the right description is key in patenting software. That’s going to help a patent attorney create a good or well-written patent application for you, one that is going to protect your concepts.

If you’ve ever seen a software patent before, you’ve probably noticed a few key elements. Generally, there are flow charts, diagrams, and there’s a written description that explains the process followed by the software which makes reference to the flow chart and drawings.

To have the right information so you can get a well-written patent application that protects you and avoid having a poorly written application, that wastes time and money, and doesn’t protect you, I encourage you to take the following steps:

Step One

Isolate the novel parts of the method or process as carried out by the software application.

These steps can be things that are internal to the system, such as specific steps that are executed by your code.

It could also be things that are external to the system, such as the way in which the user interacts with your application, the type of input provided by the user, the unique way in which a certain result is generated or provided to the user through your system.

Those could be the novel parts of the process that you want to present and in particular, the ones you want to prepare.

Step Two

Create some rough sketches, illustrating the different parts of the system and how they’re all connected together and the sketches that you create can just be simple hand drawings. They don’t have to be anything fancy. And in particular, you want these sketches to contain the physical components that interact to have your system function the way that it does.

For instance, you might have a person’s desktop or a home computer. You might have a component that’s on the smartphone. You might have a server that the smartphone communicates with. You might have another server that communicates with the home computer.

Then of course, communication between those two servers. Whatever it is you want to have some type of rough diagram that illustrates the basic connection that’s required to have your system function.

Step Three

Make some basic flow charts, showing the user experience with the system and showing also what happens internally, if that’s important to the novelty. You want to make some basic flow charts that illustrate how the user interacts with the system and also what’s happening internally within the system.  What type of processing takes place?

Step Four

Create a basic description that really explains what’s novel about the application. What makes it special?

Ideally, this should just be a few paragraphs, a really concise explanation of what makes this application different from other ones that you know of. Sometimes you might feel like, I have a lot of information about this, I have a lot of details about it that I think the patent attorney would want to know about how the system functions.

If that’s the case, then by all means, go ahead and create that detailed description. At the same time though, make sure that you create a concise explanation that in a paragraph or two really nails what the novel parts of the idea are.

This way the patent attorney can just get to the heart of the matter of where to focus most of the attention in preparing the patent application.

Now that you know what the patent attorney will need in order to get the process started for you, go ahead right now and start following those steps that I gave to you so that you can get the patent process started right away. Good luck.

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