My patent application describes software method. I wrote the code just to test it. It is stripped down embodiment, as real things would be more complex and depending on particular implementation. All software patents I read don't have code attached. I am reluctant to submit my code as it is not simple and require a lot of explaining.

2 Answers 2


In a computer related invention, the patent application may disclose a computer processor or other hardware that may be sufficient for enabling a general computing function. However, mentioning a computer processor or hardware may not be sufficient for enabling a structure for performing a specific function, since novelty in computer related inventions most often resides in the software or the computer program that is being executed on the computer processor and not the hardware itself.

When it comes to identifying the “corresponding structure” for a computer related invention, an “algorithm or code” is the one which carries out the claimed function, and therefore the specification must disclose the "algorithm" that can be used to perform the claimed function.

The algorithm however, need not necessarily be in the form of source code; the algorithm may be expressed in any understandable terms, such as mathematical formula, in prose, or as a flow chart, or in any other manner that provides sufficient structure.

You may visit the link http://www.invntree.com/blogs/disclosure-requirements-for-software-patents for further details on disclosure requirements of software patents.


I am reluctant to submit my code as it is not simple and require a lot of explaining.

That's a good reason to submit code.

Your patent (and consequently application) should give other people the ability to practice your invention.

So no, you do not need to include code, and as you said, many people do not, but you should (almost definitely, and "almost" is a technicality) include some form of code. It doesn't have to be compilable, but you should have some flow chart, pseudo-code, or, yes, actual source code.

This isn't an actual standard or anything, but in general I would set your goal as that for anyone who's read your application, your code shouldn't require a lot of explanation.

Think ultimately of how you would explain the invention to a fellow developer. Would you include source code, or just drawings on a white board?

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    "[B]ut you should [...] include some form of code." Not an advice I have ever heard in this generic form from any patent professional. Would you care to elaborate how you arrived at this opinion? Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 13:18
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    @Dr.StephenFalken The sentence that followed that was quite important to my meaning there. Most applications will show some aspect of the algorithm in a non-paragraph form, just because it can make it a lot easier to understand. My point there is that it's generally best practice to include a "flow chart, pseudo-code, or yes, actual source code," just because it's a lot easier to convey the steps in an algorithm with a visual aid of some sort. It's just like any other application; I would say that someone patenting a new type of chair should include some drawings. Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 19:08
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    I am sorry, and with all due respect, but this just keeps getting more and more unreal. "I would say that someone patenting a new type of chair should include some drawings." Again, you "would say" that based on WHAT? What do patent drawings have to do with including source code? Frankly, it seems you are making stuff up and selling it as expert patent advice. And no, IMHO, expecting that poeple giving seemingly authoritative advice here provide SOME sort of reasoning does not "nullify much of the purpose of this site." Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 21:16
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    All published software patents I saw didn't have any code. Also I don't think that looking at the code without understanding what it does would be helpful. The function is not obvious from the code. Also I am concern it would be limiting.
    – Pol99
    Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 23:58
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    In any case it should be noted that if you believe you have an important invention and do not possess the necessary knowledge yourself, it would be highly advisable to seek professional representation. If your application is not worth the few thousand dollars and/or share of potential profits to you, I would frankly stay out of the patent game. If you honestly think you can get useful advice for DRAFTING an application from laypeople with no formal training nor substantial personal experience in the field, I can guarantuee you that you can and WILL suffer an avoidable loss of rights. Commented Dec 21, 2014 at 11:30

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