Software and apps may patented upon condition that they include at least one innovative algorithm that provides a technical contribution to the state of the art. Programs for data compression, video speeding and for the calculation of operative parameters are all instances of patentable software.
In order to patent software or apps, there is no need to supply lines of code, while it is necessary to prepare a detailed description of the innovative algorithms and of how they interact with the software, in particular by drafting a document containing, for instance:
- flux diagrams
- block schemes of the hardware and software systems employed.
In any case, in order to be considered patentable, software and apps must also meet the patentability requirements which apply to traditional inventions, in particular novelty and inventive step.
Icons, fonts and graphic symbols may be protected with a design registration, upon condition that they meet the normal requirements for registration.
All software enjoys protection under copyright law and may be entered into a special register. However, copyright protection for software is significantly more limited than patent protection.
The holder of patent rights or copyrights in a software has the right to request customs protection, involving the detention of counterfeit products at customs.