Yes, software is patentable. Although some commentators declared that Alice heralded the end of software patents, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will not deny a patent on an invention simply because the invention is related to software.

In its July 2015 Update on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility, the USPTO provided the following as examples of software inventions which are patentable under certain conditions:
• graphical user interfaces
• methods for transmitting stock quote data
• methods for loading BIOS

While the USPTO’s continued commitment to protecting innovation in software is encouraging, the technicalities surrounding obtaining an effective software patent can present some challenges. Innovators in software should discuss strategies for obtaining patent protection for their inventions with qualified legal counsel.

Contributor: Neil M. Barnes