There are some things to think about specific to provisional software applications:
- Be as technical as possible. The rule of thumb is to describe the software insomuch as for a technologically savvy individual to understand your invention. When the time comes to file for a non-provisional patent for the same product it should parallel the provisional patent. Therefore, the specification portion of the application is exceedingly important for a software application and ample time must be spent on it.
- Try to portray the different layers of the software to properly show its function. It is likely helpful to include a series of flowcharts on your application to achieve this. One flowchart should portray the system on a macro level and the others should show the individual components and routines that serve to achieve your software’s system.
- Including the coding of your software is not always necessary because at the end of the day a code is not patentable, only the system for which the code creates is. Thus, only include the code if you believe it is essential to prove the functionality of your product.
- Inventors thinking of applying for a provisional software patent may also consider seeking copyright protection (in addition to or instead of). Copyright protection is a cheaper option than patent protection; however, it is not as effective than obtaining a patent.