Requirements for patenting software or apps in Europe
10 Jul 2018

Requirements for patenting software or apps in Europe

According to different sector sources thereare more than 5 million applicationsavailable on the market. In under 5 years, the number ofapplication downloads will exceed 352 billion,as opposed to the 197 estimated in 2017. And the income associated with these downloads will increase accordingly. 

These mobile applications improve our daily lives to such an extent that our hearts miss a beat at the mere thought we may have left our mobile phone at home or if we can't find it. And more and more appear each day, offering new services. Therefore, the creators of these applications have to protect their creation, but it is not so easy to patent software and/or apps under European legislation.

To receive a patent the app must meet the classic requirements that make it suitable for patenting (newness, inventive activity and industrial application) and it must also be of a technical nature and provide a solution.

Requirements for patenting apps and software

Not all applications can be protected, although some can be patented. What requirements must they meet?

- Newness
The main requirement is that the application must be new at the worldwide level. This means that there must be no other application like ours anywhere on the planet.

- Inventive activity
Another requirement is that the invention should be important. In other words, the application must not be obvious to an expert who knows applications or be similar to others.

- Technical nature as an industrial application
Finally, there is the technical nature as an industrial application. The application must interact automatically with its surroundings, gathering all the information automatically and offering results with the information obtained.

It is precisely this last requirement that in most cases determines the capacity of an app to be patented. Most computer programs and applications cannot be protected by patents, so European legislation (and not American) considers that they have intellectual property rights.  

In this case, there are other additional forms of legal protection, such as:
  • copyright;

  • the trademark of the application (name, logo and Nice classification;

  • the wording of express right concession agreements;

  • the demonstration of authorship of the app via a public notary;

  • or the graphical interface on the Community industrial design register.

Innovation is part of entrepreneurs’ and computer developers’ DNA, but unfortunately the protection of the intangible assets they produce is not usually one of their priorities. Good protection of industrial property is fundamental to minimizing the legal risks and maximizing the profitability of the investment made and in this blog we advise you to call on a company specialized in intellectual and industrial property portfolios.





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