Article Archive

double_arrow Ask an Attorney


What Our Customers Say...

Albright IP Limited
Based on 90 reviews
powered by Google
Emily Warwick
Emily Warwick
14:56 27 Jul 22
My experience with Albright IP has been flawless from start to finish. I... have never filed a patent before so I was learning everything as I went along. They have been helpful in every way possible and gone the extra mile to ensure I was kept in the loop and happy as everything was going through each step of the way. I cannot express enough how pleased I am with their service. I had the pleasure of working with Will, Abigail, and Adrian. I would recommend Albright IP to anyone looking to file a patent more
Simon Mills
Simon Mills
13:22 06 Jul 22
Super helpful advice, and really friendly service. Highly recommend... Albright for IP advice and more
Luke D.
Luke D.
11:25 23 May 22
Was a pleasure to work with Will and Melissa on a patent draft and filing.... Will took the time to understand both my software product and the commercial motivations behind the patent filing. They were extremely responsive to questions and clarifications throughout the process (availability isn't everything, but it certainly helps!).They were also very clear regarding fees, and set out a very helpful visual timeline and cost breakdown on the whole patent application process at the pre-sales stage. This emphasis on making sure I understood all aspects of the work, and having documentation to help with that, is something I didn't see with any of the other patent services I was talking to at the time. This clear communication continued throughout our interactions.Would recommend Albright IP to anyone looking to patent an invention. The patent they filed for me was for a software more
See All Reviews

Need a Product Designer?

Helpful Tips

Do I have to identify the designer?
It is possible to waive the name of the designer when filing a European Community Design, but you should be sure that you have the rights to the design

Can you patent Software?

by | Nov 1, 2023

Can you patent software?

It sounds like a simple enough question, but the answer is that ‘it depends!’

UK and European law has excluded from patent protection ‘a program for a computer as such’ since 1977, but the scope of that exclusion has been hotly contested for just about as long.

Where we seem to have got to, 45 years on, is that software can be protected if it makes a ‘technical contribution’, that is, if it constitutes a technical solution to a technical problem. What is ‘technical’? That’s hard to define, but some examples on either side of the line may help.

On the one hand there is software which controls external technical processes. If a new program controls a machine in a factory to make the machine produce better products or use less energy, then the fact that the only change you have made to the machine is to rewrite the software is not going to stop you getting a patent.

The law will recognise that the invention is really a better way of controlling a machine, not ‘a computer program as such’. These things are patentable if they are new and non-obvious.

At the other end of the spectrum, if your program just implements a new way of doing business, say an algorithm for setting prices, it isn’t going to be patentable. ‘A scheme, rule or method of doing business’ is excluded as well, and just implementing that scheme on a computer won’t help. These things are not technical and not patentable.

In the middle there are going to be inventions which are arguable. People will argue over definitions, but perhaps everything which is properly called ‘artificial intelligence’ addresses a technical problem of how you make a computer do something which was previously the proud preserve of human brains.

Does that make it patentable? Well, maybe… there’s not a simple answer I’m afraid, but if you think you might have some new and technical software, please do get in touch.