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Can the software I have developed be protected?

QI HAVE developed a new method of product testing where the test results are analysed using a computer program. I understand it is impossible to obtain patents for software, so what can I do to protect my method? ADO not dismiss the possibility of protecting your method with a patent, without consulting a patent attorney. It may be possible to obtain a patent, even though the method is implemented using software.

Computer programs per se cannot be patented in the UK and Europe. However, some computerimplemented inventions are patentable, provided they also meet the other patentability criteria.

Computer programs which control technical processes or which improve the internal operation of the computer are unlikely to be excluded from patentability solely because they include software.

The contribution the method makes will determine whether your method is patentable. If your method provides a technical advantage over known test methods (e.g. faster or more accurate product testing), then it may be patentable. It would be necessary to compare your method Expert: Russell Sessford Title: Partner at Forresters Base: Rutland House, 148 Edmund Street, Birmingham B3 2JA Contact: 0121 236 0484 Email: with known test methods, to assess whether filing a patent application is likely to be advantageous.

Different countries assess patentability of computer-related inventions in different ways. Therefore you may find it easier (or more difficult!) to obtain a patent for your method in other countries.

Even if your method is not patentable, the software may be protected by copyright. You may be able to exploit such copyright by offering licences to use the software, for example.

This answer provides general guidance, but not legal advice, which you should always seek, as appropriate.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 21, 2013
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