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Can you patent a computer-related invention? Just ask sports entrepreneur Bernie Amarillo!

Bernie wants to diversify the “Hit Maker” product range by extending it into video. His brilliant idea is to create a brand-new video-sharing platform dedicated to sports called “The Big Miss” where fans can share sporting failures they witness and exchange with others on related sports topics.

After reviewing other similar platforms on the market, Bernie devises a computer-implemented improvement that will make for a simpler/ faster video sharing experience.

Bernie: “This idea is brilliant, too bad I can’t patent it as its software related!”

Bernie launches his platform and its popularity is astronomical!

Bernie would like to promote it further, but he doesn’t have the cash. He approaches a few investors and asks for investment largely based on his innovative computer-generated improvement.

He meets with the investors; they love his platform and are interested in investing. They have 1 question for Bernie: did you apply for a patent on your idea, Bernie?

Bernie: “But I can’t patent this idea as it’s just software, no?”
Investors: “Well Bernie this is not just software!
“You’ve actually got a computer-implemented idea.”
“And Bernie, computer-implemented ideas are patentable!”
“Sorry Bernie but no protection means no investment! Better luck next time!”

OOPs!

Bernie, here is what you should know:

While software per se (i.e., the code) is generally not patentable, inventive computer-implemented techniques can qualify as patentable subject matter in many jurisdictions throughout the world provided the invention comprises technical subject matter leading to a technical solution of a technical problem. [1]

Improvements in the performance of a computing device itself, for example, increased processing speed, reduced resource usage, and reduced heat generation may qualify as technical improvements to the computing device, and therefore, a technical solution may be present.

Improvements to a technology or technical field, for example, video streaming improvements leading to higher quality, greater interactivity, higher download speeds, and improved user experience, may also be considered technical, thereby giving rise again to a technical solution.

Patentability of computer-implemented inventions is case-specific.  Be sure to consult a registered patent attorney before deciding to forgo filing a patent application on a computer-implemented invention.

[1] The combination of features of a claim must also be novel and inventive in order to obtain a patent on the invention.

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