Do you assume that your business has enough intellectual property protection because you have copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets? Did you know that by not obtaining patents you may be leaving a critical gap in your company’s intellectual property? Even with copyright, trademark, and trade secret protection, your company may still be vulnerable to lawsuits, to being copied by competitors, or worse, to being forced to stop using your own software because it has been patented by someone else…
Far too many business owners expose themselves to these risks because they think software can’t be patented – or simply because they misunderstand how critical software patents are. If you think copyright protection is all you need, you are likely to be sorely mistaken – and it could have serious consequences for your company.
Failing to successfully patent your inventions – specifically software – creates two types of risk. First, a competitor can copy your product, and without a patent in place, you are powerless to stop them. Second, a competitor can obtain a patent for your technology, and sue you for using your own software!
Without patent protection in place, you’ll be missing a crucial way to defend yourself if you’re ever sued for patent infringement. If you do obtain patents for your software, however, then in the event that you’re sued for patent infringement, you’ll have your own arsenal of patents to turn to for use in a counterattack.
Obtaining software patents requires special expertise in both patent law and computer technology. At Blueshift IP, our attorneys are recognized as software patent experts. Our founding partners, Robert Plotkin and Cynthia Gilbert, have computer science degrees and combined experience of over three decades specializing in software patents, all of which are necessary to create strong and defensible software patents.
The top 3 Reasons why you need patents for your innovative software, even if you have copyright, trademarks or trade secrets is that:
- Copyright only protects the specific code that you write, and only protects you if a programmer has access to that code and copies it. Copyright provides little or no protection if someone modifies your code or independently creates their own competing product.
- Trademark only protects your name, logo, or brand, not your product itself or its innovative features. This means that a trademark does nothing to stop a competitor from copying your product and marketing it under a different name.
- Trade Secret protection only applies when someone within your organization (or a contractor) divulges sensitive information – like your code – to a competitor. It doesn’t protect you against a competitor who independently creates a product that competes with yours or buys your product and copies it.
A strong patent covers what these other kinds of intellectual property protection do not. In fact, patent protection can be the primary and strongest form of intellectual protection for innovative software companies.
Your competitors are already patenting their software even if you aren’t. If you aren’t keeping up, you risk a competitor with a strong patent coming after you. Tremendous amounts of money are usually at stake in patent lawsuits — often in the millions and tens of millions of dollars – the kind of money that can bankrupt a business. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way by failing to invest in patents for your company and overlooking the power of patents to protect your business and give you an edge over the competition.