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Patent Protection for Software and Mobile Applications (Apps) – FAQs

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How are software patents granted in India?

Originally published here.

Software patents are granted in India if the computer related inventions pass the patent eligibility test. Software patents are granted by the Indian patent office for inventions that are novel, inventive, and are capable of industrial application. Software patents comprising innovative processes combined with hardware aspects can be registered under Indian patent laws.

For the purposes of patent registration in India, the process / method claims of software patents should be drafted in combination with apparatus / system claims including hardware features, which should not be a general hardware, such as a computer, or a mobile device. In addition, the system / apparatus claims should be limited by novel aspects of the corresponding methods or processes. More details on software patents in India can be found here. Other FAQs on software patents can be seen here.

Does Indian patent law allow software patents?

Yes, software / computer related innovations can be protected under patent rights as provided by the Indian patent laws. However, according to section 3(k) of the Indian Patents Act, mathematical formulae, business methods, and computer programs per se, are treated as non-patentable inventions.

Accordingly, computer related inventions, or CRIs, including mobile applications and software patents, can be protected in India by way of novel and inventive combination of innovative processes / method claims embodied via hardware, wherein the combination or hardware and software should be capable of industrial application, as defined in the patent law. More details on software patents in India can be found here. Other FAQs on software patents can be seen here.

How to apply for software patent in India?

The first step to apply for software patents in India is to determine whether the software based innovation is eligible for patent protection or not. The patent eligibility, or patentability, is determined by conducting a patent prior art search, which covers patent and non-patent literature to determine the novelty and inventive step (non-obviousness) of the proposed invention.

Another important step is to determine if the proposed invention falls under the category of the non-patentable inventions, which is specified under Section 3(k) of the Indian patents act. As per Indian patent laws, software / mobile apps fall under the category of computer related inventions (CRIs), which have to drafted in a particular manner to pass the patent eligibility test.

Therefore, once a software patent is drafted, the same can be applied to Indian patent office by following the patent e-filing process, or the physical filing, under the guidance of an Indian patent attorney or a patent law firm with expertise in patents. More details on software patents in India can be found here. Other FAQs on software patents can be seen here.

How to patent a software in India?

Indian patent laws don’t specifically provide patent protection for computer programs per se, but computer related inventions (CRIs) can be protected under the Patents Act, including software and mobile applications. Software owners and publishers can protect intellectual property rights by combined protection of software patents and software copyright. Copyright protection is aimed at protecting software source code, while patent protection is aimed at protecting technical aspects of the software and mobile applications, which should satisfy the patent eligibility criteria as specified under the provisions of the Indian patent laws. More details on software patents in India can be found here. Other FAQs on software patents can be seen here.

How to patent a mobile application in India?

Mobile applications can be patented by filing one or more patent applications with the Indian patent office corresponding to one or more innovative features of the mobile application. The Indian Patents Act state that one patent application should relate to a single invention only.

Accordingly, innovative aspects of the mobile app can be patented by drafting patent claims covering the corresponding hardware and software features, by way of system / apparatus claims and method / process claims. While drafting patent claims for mobile app based innovations, utmost care must be given to highlight novel aspects to connect the hardware elements with each other, wherein each element shall be limited in accordance with its functionality as described in method claims. More details on software patents in India can be found here. Other FAQs on software patents can be seen here.

What are the examples of software patents in India?

Technology companies like Microsoft have been filing patents in India regularly and most of such patent pertain to the category of software patents. While patents cannot be obtained in India for computer program per se, software and mobile applications can be protected in India by claiming combination of novel aspects of hardware and software, by way of system and method claims.

Examples of software patents in India may be seen here.

As may be concluded from above, the Indian patent office grants patent for software and mobile apps, which fall under the category of computer related inventions (CRIs), as method claims describing hardware features, which are further limited by their respective functionality as specified in the method claims. More details on software patents in India can be found here. Other FAQs on software patents can be seen here.

Written by:

Rahul Dev,

International Technology Business Lawyer | Member – Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA)  

Partner and Patent Attorney, Tech Corp Legal LLP  (Tech Corp Group), an international law firm specialised in business and technology laws providing patent drafting (software patent drafting, mobile app patent drafting, patent drafting for computer related inventions), searching, filing and PCT national phase services along with trademark and other aspects of Intellectual Property Rights in addition to corporate law practice governing cross-border M&A transactions, technology licensing, agreements and contracts.

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Often we come across multiple blogs and other related content (videos, images, presentations, documents, eBooks etc.) written by experts and it can get troublesome at times to read and grasp multiple such blogs at one go.

Industry experts are mostly reading and writing at the same time, so if valuable content is curated and presented smartly, it can boost effective knowledge sharing.

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This article is aimed at compiling five (5) interesting blog posts pertaining to law and technology, covering diverse topics. Hope these blog posts form an interesting and valuable read:

a. 7 Considerations While Drafting a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

It is commonly observed that every business discussion between two parties requires disclosure (or exchange) of confidential information, which mandates the execution of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as the confidentiality agreement.

Parties execute the NDA to protect confidential and proprietary information shared by (and between) each party. In most cases, NDAs act as first step towards subsequent business agreements and contracts, which include additional provisions to cover complexities of business transactions between the parties.

While drafting a confidentiality (non-disclosure) agreement, it is crucial to ensure interests of both the parties is adequately secured by including the required provisions in a well-defined manner and excluding provisions that are not required. Read more here.

b. Your Ultimate Guide To Understanding IPR for Hardware – Patents | Trademarks | Designs | Copyrights

“80% of things that surround us are not made by God, they are made in China”. Considering the dynamically changing landscape of hardware products due to latest developments in technology and introduction of lean manufacturing methods, it has become feasible to launch a hardware business that solves a real world problem.

However, while starting a business involving hardware as core product, adequate considerations must be given to issues related to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). Read more here.

c. Drafting Website Terms and Conditions – Important Legal Considerations – Free eBook

Website Terms: As businesses and marketplaces transition towards new age mediums such as web and mobile, complexities surrounding them also continue to grow.

Appropriate terms and conditions along with privacy policies are critical to every website and mobile application.

Important considerations while drafting terms and conditions for websites and mobile applications are discussed in this eBook. Read more here.

d. Where Patent Analytics Are Headed – Harnessing Power of Patent Analytics for Patent Strategy

Patent analytics can be used as a crucial tool to prepare innovation landscape for any particular technology, following which the retrieved data can be used for multiple purposes, such as, for example:

(i) To determine scale and intensity of patenting activity across a particular technology sector.

(ii) To assess level of collaborations between Industry, Academia and Government by specifically focusing on patents filed jointly as a result of research collaboration between public and private sector, along with universities.

(iii) To evaluate quality of patenting activity.

(iv) To identify target markets by determining white gaps between existing patents (including both granted patents and pending patent applications).

Read more here.

e. Filing International Trademark Application Under Madrid Protocol 

Madrid System, including Madrid Agreement and Protocol relating to Madrid Agreement, is an international treaty to facilitate international registration of trademarks and management of trademark applications.

Madrid Agreement and Madrid Protocol – Governing Treaties

The treaties provide an easy and cost effective way of filing international trademarks. Once the trademarks are registered by respective designated offices, the Madrid protocol further provides simple procedures to manage international registrations. Read more here.

About Us

Tech Corp Legal LLP is team of accomplished patent attorneys with expertise in Intellectual Property, Patent Strategy & Technology Consulting for formulating profitable & sustainable Patent (IP) Strategy. Our lawyers are invited as Patent Attorneys & Global Business Lawyers to speak at various International & Govt events, News Channels, International Conferences, CEO Workshops.

Our views and articles are regularly featured across national and international publications, including, Economic Times, Law Journals (IBA, LAWASIA), Tech Magazines, Digital News Network (DNA) Asia, BioSpectrum India, BioSpectrum Asia, HT Live Mint, Nature Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine etc.

We act as Patent Consultants & Legal Advisors to International Law Firms (Including Patent Attorneys), Executives, Technology Corporations, Investors, Entrepreneurs & Startups (US, EU, Asia Pacific & various Jurisdictions). Our practice areas include: Patents, Trademarks, Intellectual Property Rights Strategy, Technology Laws, Corporate & Securities Law, Ventures Capital Financing, Fundraising and International Business Advisory, Patent Portfolio Management, Copyrights

We have extensive experience with Global Patent Attorneys, In-house IP Counsels, CTOs, R&D Heads, Licensing Officers and our services include: Patent Law Opinion, Drafting Patent Specifications, Prior Art Searches, Patent Invention Disclosures, Novelty (Patentability) Analysis & Patent Infringement Research (analytics), Patent Litigation Evidence (charts), Patent Invalidation & Validation Analysis, Patent (IP) Landscape Analysis, Patent Prosecution & Opposition, Office Action Responses (USPTO, EPO, UKIPO), Patent Licensing Agreements, Freedom to Operate Analysis etc.

Our Technology Expertise includes: Software Patents, Wireless Communications Patents, Mechanical Patents, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Genetic Engineering Patents, Video (Mobile) Games, Mobile Apps, Cloud Computing, Digital Media, Biotechnology, Semiconductor & Medical Devices

We are registered as Patent Attorneys with Indian Patent & Trademark Office for Prosecuting Patent Applications, Hearings, Responding to Examination Objections, Trademark Applications etc. and member of Delhi High Court Bar Association. Our engagement models include: Contractual, Hourly, Per Project

Our specialties include: Litigation, Patent Litigation, Patent Infringement, Corporate & IP Strategy, Startups: Incorporation, Funding, Brand Management, Contracts & Agreements, Legal Research, SWOT, Corporate Governance, Due-diligence, Mergers & Acquisitions, Antitrust & Competition Laws, Regulatory Affairs, Freedom-to-Operate, Patent Drafting, Claim Drafting, Patent Searches, Office Actions Response, USPTO Patent appeal briefs, Patent Invalidation Analysis, Patent Opposition, Product-Claim Mapping, Patent Enforcement etc.

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About the Author: Rahul Dev

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Engagements: Contractual Consulting, Hourly, Project Based

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Mobile applications, which are commonly referred to as mobile apps, are generally available for download at various app stores. Commercially, selling mobile apps is a highly profitable business model as developers can offer apps to multiple markets.

Originally published here.

Commercial success of mobile applications has resulted in an increasing interest to protect associated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), such as, Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, and the like.

fintech patent attorney

While analyzing the patentability of mobile applications, such apps have to be considered as software products, and then, corresponding patent eligibility and patentability can be determined by standard methods, such as, for example, conducting a patent prior art search to determine patentability and analyzing relevant search results.

With a view to determine patent eligibility or patentability of mobile applications, it is advisable to consider them as software products and / or computer-implemented inventions. The standard criteria to determine patentability include determining novelty, non-obviousness (inventive step), and industrial application. Subsequently, while drafting a patent application for mobile application, software products and / or computer-implemented inventions, it is a statutory requirement to provide a detailed description of one or more embodiments of the invention that is sufficient to enable a non-inventive person skilled in the relevant field of technology to put it into operation.

As a patent practitioner, it is crucial to ensure that while drafting patent application for computer-implemented inventions, patent claims are specifically defined and claims are not broad, which may lead to an assumption of claiming one or more abstract ideas, mathematical equations, laws of nature or mere discoveries.

A most feasible patent strategy is to file a provisional patent application, usually known as provisional utility patent application in US, which will give a timeline of 12 months to file a non-provisional patent application (referred to as complete patent application under Indian laws).

After the date of filing provisional patent application, the phrase “patent pending” can be used during product promotions.

Generally, patent attorneys and patent law firms provide low cost fee schedule to draft and file a provisional patent application, primarily because drafting provisional patent application consumes quite less billable hours as compared to a non-provisional patent application. This is so because as per requirements of patent laws, non-provisional patent application is required to include a full fledged set of claims, formal figures, corresponding description, whereas a provisional patent can be filed as a general disclosure of invention that may or may not include full set of claims and formal figures. Accordingly, it is common to include snapshots, sketches etc. with the provisional patent application protecting mobile applications.

Before deciding to file a patent for mobile application, it is advisable to consider various factors, such as, for example, but not limited to, budget and cost to file patent to protect a mobile application, patent eligibility of the invention, patentability of the software product, type of patent application to be filed, basics of utility patents, advantages of filing multiple provisional patent applications, and the like.

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Summary

Adovcate Rahul Dev Patent Trademark Attorney Corporate LawyerArticle Title

“Patent Protection of Mobile [Smartphone] Applications – Android, Apple, Microsoft & Blackberry Apps”

Author: Advocate Rahul Dev

Description

Mobile applications, which are commonly referred to as mobile apps, are generally available for download at various app stores. Commercial success of mobile applications has resulted in an increasing interest to protect associated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), such as, Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, and the like.

 

About the Author: Rahul Dev

Advice for Contacting

Engagements: Contractual Consulting, Hourly, Project Based

Contact Mode: LinkedIn or directly message here

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