Can I get patent for software application in US ? How much it will cost?
Software could be protected by means on copyright as well as patents: Copyrights are straight forward and simplest form of protection for the software code
There are some advantages for copyright protection:
It is much simple to protect software code by copyright
Copyright is done as soon as the work is created
long period of protection ( life of the author plus 50 years )
But, copy right provides very limited protection to the software!!!
By its nature the copyright is meant to protect the expression of the work!!! And not the concept behind the expression, procedures or methods, in many cases the idea behind the software code is important asset to the business which can only be protected to appropriate extent by means of patents. Hence the importance is given to win patent the software!!!!
In most cases the software can be only minor part of the invention; it could be used with the hardware to perform certain function which could be solution to some technical problem!!!
In some cases, the software code is the instructions given to the microprocessor or microcontroller so as to enable it to perform certain function which is solving some technical problem (the inventive step). And the solution is novel, non obvious and useful, in such case that software can be patentable subject matter.
The main inventive step may also lie in the system or apparatus or an algorithm or the method etc… and software may be just a part of the invention.
Any invention (including software invention) to be able to be patentable must meet following criteria’s:
invention is a patentable subject matter;
the invention is capable of industrial application (or, in certain countries, be useful);
it must be new (novel);
it must involve an inventive step (be non-obvious); and
The disclosure of the invention should be enabling.
to know more about costs read section about cost of getting patent in US and the procedure