Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
A software patent attorney assists clients with software products they wish to protect under patent law. This can include drafting applications and navigating the overall process as well as prosecuting in court, if necessary. These legal professionals can also help clients with licensing agreements and negotiations when they want to license out their patents or use technology from other firms. The job requires a thorough knowledge of patent law as well as considerations specific to software.
Clients may approach a software patent attorney early in the development process to discuss the project and determine whether it might be eligible for a patent. Attorneys can provide advice on protecting projects in development while they start to prepare detailed patent applications for the final product. Clients may wish to apply for international patents to ensure the software is protected worldwide, which requires additional work.
As the application moves through the investigation process, the software patent attorney acts as a designated point of content. Examiners with questions can meet with the attorney to discuss them, and forward requests for supporting documentation and other materials through the lawyer. If the application is rejected, a software patent attorney can review it to determine why and supervise an appeal with this information in mind.
Once a company has successfully obtained a patent for a product, the software patent attorney helps protect it. In the event of violations, the attorney can meet with violators to discuss resolutions such as paying a licensing fee, ceasing use of the protected software, or paying a settlement to avoid court. Some cases may proceed to court, where the software patent attorney challenges the violation and demands compensation for the original patent holder. The amount of damages can depend on the nature of the violation and the losses that can be linked with the unauthorized use of patented material.
Software patent attorneys also provide assistance with licensing. This includes basic user license agreements for commercially produced software that will be sold to the public as well as uses by special arrangement. For example, a company may have a piece of software that could be integral to the development of a product by another company. That firm could request a license to use the software in development, with a contract that will be negotiated by the software patent attorney. Special uses can also include protections for companies that develop purpose-designed products for particular applications, like databasing for a school district.
I believe hiring a software patent attorney is helpful. A long time ago I had some ideas but didn't follow through with them. I found out, with the help of a patent attorney, that my ideas were already invented, but that situation made me more innovative, because later on, I tried to find out more effective and unique