Initial Patent Attorney Discussions – Software
You have authored some Software, scripted a new code
Applicable intellectual property may include:
(1) Patent protection for any new software or code may be patentable if the software or code comprises at least one new and non-obvious element or step. Typically the software is broken down into a flow chart or algorithm (a series of steps performed by the software or code) and such flow chart or algorithm is analyzed to determine if a new and non-obvious element or step exists. First step is to diagram the series of steps of your algorithm (via a flow chart) from the view point of the network or a server/database and maintain such view point in the description, see How to Record your Invention. Second step is to capture or create mock screen shots of what a user sees in each step of the flow chart. Third step is to perform a patent search, see Patent Search Instructions on How to Perform a Search.
(2) Trademark protection for the name, logo, or graphic that identifies and distinguishes your software or code from others. You can and should use TM next to or in close proximity to your mark(s). TM simply means that you claim a common law right to the mark, which by virtue of your use you have a right to claim. As a reminder, use of ® is strictly prohibited until your application is completely approved and your mark is registered at the United States Trademark Office. In fact, improper use of ® is illegal and can be punishable by law. In addition, improper use can adversely affect trademark rights and registerability of a mark. Note the trademark must be used consistently to identify the goods or services being placed in commerce (for–sale). First step is to identify your mark, its goods or services description, and learn common mistakes in selecting a mark, see Trademark Information and Trademark Goods Services Description. Second step is to perform a trademark search, see Trademark Search Instructions on How to Perform a Search.
(3) Copyright. Each original work of authorship fixed in a tangible or electronic form, including text, graphics, and pictures can be the basis of one or more copyright applications. As a reminder, please ensure to always include a copyright notice on all web pages in the footer and all documents available on the website fixed on paper or in an electronic form, such as © 201_ Full Name/Company Name. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Note if multiple authors or designers are contributing to the website and a single person or entity desires to own the collective work then the authors or designers must transfer their rights to the single person or entity via an assignment/work-made-for-hire agreement.
(4) Contracts. Note if multiple authors are contributing to a work and a single person or entity desires to own the collective work then the parties must transfer their rights to the single person or entity via an assignment/work-made-for-hire agreement, otherwise each contributor is owed a ratable share of the profits realized from use of the work. Ownership rights should be clearly defined in an Assignment/work-made-for-hire agreement or set froth as clauses in such service agreements requiring agreement on intellectual property ownership by all parties participating in creation of the work.
By Mat Grell, US Patent Attorney
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