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A software patent is a patent that is provided to enhance computer performance by means of a computer application.
There is no legal or conclusive definition for a software patent. This and the topic of related intellectual property (IP) protection rights have been intensely debated at all levels in the tech world. Different countries have different restrictions on patenting software innovations. For example, U.S. patent law does not permit patents that involve abstract ideas. This restriction has been used to deny software patents. In the European Union (EU), software applications, as a whole, are excluded from patent restrictions.
Although similar in approach, the copyrighting and patenting of software protect different IP aspects. Copyright protection is only provided to expressions and exempt to ideas, procedures or operational/computing methods, whereas patents may cover ideas, procedures and operational methods. However, a software patent's cost and enforcement may be higher, depending on the complexity of the patent's requirements. Again, like other patent categories, software patents also need to be applied according to country or region.
The following criteria apply to patent protection:
Some concerns for a software patent are: