Protecting the intellectual property value in software is an important part of the development process. Unfortunately, determining how best to do that it is not necessarily straightforward.
The patentability of software is a subject that has been given much consideration by the courts over the last several years, and is constantly evolving. A careful analysis of new software development can help identify the likelihood of patent protection for various processes.
Even if software can be patented, it may not be the best course. If the code cannot be easily reverse engineered, trade secret protection might be more appropriate. And of course, the code itself can be copyrighted.
Whatever steps are taken, they should be part of a comprehensive strategy that covers all of the business’s technology assets. In addition to any patent, trademark, or copyright applications, the use of non-disclosure agreements, assignments and ownership agreements, and internal confidentiality policies should all be considered.