Are Patents Still Worth the Time and Money?

Many inventors are asking themselves if it is worthwhile to file patent applications.  The answer to this question depends on the subject matter of the patent application.  Virtually every software patent that is litigated now is being attacked for not having patent-eligible claims under 35 U.S.C. Section 101.  Invalidation of such patents is now very common, no matter how unjust, even for exceptionally worthwhile software inventions.  The message for inventors is that software patents are now virtually unenforceable and therefore practically worthless as a defense against infringers.

Hardware patents are a different case.  Hardware patents have a better chance of withstanding invalidation attacks and having enforceable claims that are patent-eligible.  However, it is still strongly recommended to point out the differences and advantages over the prior art, both for negotiations with the Patent Examiner for allowance of a patent, and for defending the patent in court if you try to enforce the patent.  And of course, you should be totally honest in your dealings with the Patent Office and the court, because any wrongdoing will definitely be uncovered and brought to the attention of the court if you ever try to litigate the patent.

Author: Megan

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