Software patents

Software and telecommunications

An effective intellectual property strategy in software and telecoms requires extensive knowledge of the sector’s technical and legal issues.

Software can be found everywhere – and it now accounts for some 40% of P&TS’s patent filings. It is a complex field where the available protections have to be determined on a case-by-case basis and by country. For example, although software is protected by copyright law, this protection only covers the wording of the code, not the underlying technical solutions or algorithms. And while copyright law adequately protects against servile copy – such as installing an unauthorised copy on a computer – it does little to fend off a rival willing to go to the trouble of rewriting the code. Only patents adequately protect technical solutions.

In the realm of telecommunications, system interoperability requires the various parts of the network to share the same protocols and standards – thus eliminating any form of trade secrecy. In order to reap the full benefits of their research, companies that invest in R&D therefore need to put in place sophisticated intellectual property strategies.

In the political world, software protection is highly controversial. Some feel that patent overkill undermines innovation, while others point out that the software-friendly patent policy in the USA has clearly not done much harm. It is no surprise that legal rulings and government decisions are moving forward very quickly in this area, yet in different ways in different countries.

We keep careful track of the situation in both Europe and the USA so that we can make full use of the protections offered in each country. We advise companies on the best way to distribute their products, either as proprietary software, open-source software or software as a service (SaaS). This is a decision that will affect software companies’ business model, and we set up copyright- and/or patent-protection strategies tailored to the selected distribution approach.

Putting in place an effective intellectual property strategy demands advanced technical and legal expertise. And, given these products’ short shelf life, the work needs to be done quickly. This is where P&TS comes in. We have been making our mark on this industry since our founding in 1998. In order to keep pace with the challenges of this sector and the trend towards digitisation, we assembled an outstanding team of software-protection specialists. The team includes numerous engineers and patent attorneys with in-depth knowledge of the criteria governing software patentability in Europe and the USA.

We have extensive experience in the following areas:

  • Industrial process controls, CNC, IIOT
  • Telecommunication systems, mobile phone systems, Internet
  • Smartphone applications, apps
  • Atrifical Intelligence (Ai), neural networks, deep learning
  • Biometrics, voice, face and palm recognition
  • Cryptography, securing and authenticating data, blockchains
  • Fintech, payment methods, bitcoins
  • Product traceability
  • Signal coding, including compression and error coding
  • Signal and image processing
  • Simulations
  • Route calculation
  • Operating systems
  • Search engines
  • Virtual reality

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