The Director of the Patent Office recently communicated an important notice regarding software patent applications. In a potentially sweeping statement, the Patent Office Director communicates his view that the Patent Office should not focus on whether a given software invention meets the patent subject matter requirements. Instead, according to the Director, the Patent Office should focus on whether software inventions are novel and nonobvious and leave patent eligible subject matter questions for courts to decide:
“Avoiding issues under § 101 can have a very positive effect on pendency and help examiners focus on finding the closest prior art, leading to strong patent protection.” “I appreciate the wisdom of the court’s discussion relating to resolving disputed claims by focusing initially on patentability requirements of § 102, [novelty] 103 [obviousness], and 112 [content requirements], rather than § 101 [subject matter, i.e., type of invention requirements].” Patent Office Director comments.
This proclamation from the Patent Office seems a clear indication that software patent applications will not be routinely challenged at the Patent Office. In many respects, this shift from the Patent Office will clear the way for many software patent applications.
If you have a software invention that you would like to patent, talk with one of our patent attorneys to let us get the process started for you.