My idea consists of a particular 'architecture' involving:

  • few Open Source software technologies
  • some code written by myself
  • WordPress API
  • TV screen and a PlayStation controller

Is an idea such as this 'patentable'? Or can I only apply for a patent on the code that I have wrote myself?

  • Just to make sure we're on the same page, are you asking more about patenting "an [invention] involving software & hardware," or the fact that you're using other people's APIs and open source work? Or both? Commented Jan 11, 2015 at 2:35
  • @MatthewHaugen a bit of both. It is an idea at this stage, but will be an invention in the near future. I need to factor in that there are open source frameworks and open, public APIs that are involved. Commented Jan 11, 2015 at 4:11

2 Answers 2


Can you write a patent application for an idea that includes existing technologies? Absolutely. Can you get a patent for something that just adds together existing technologies, and doesn't add anything new? Nope, not very likely.

So let's say you use Open Source tech, code, WordPress, Playstation, and the TV screen to create a brand new way of interacting with your television using interpretive dance. You could most likely get a patent for that. But using those same elements to give you a nicer menu listing for the TV programs is unlikely to be patentable, given what's already out there.

In other words, using existing technologies doesn't impact patentability. The question is what is the new stuff, and is it novel & non-obvious.

As a side note, if you are using Open Source, be aware that different types of Open Source have different impact on your own code. GPL v. 3 requires patent licenses.


Computer programs are not patentable themselves. However, if the program are needed to create a new technology, they can be patented with the new technology as a whole not separately.

  • "Computer programs are not patentable themselves": well I'm not sure that's quite true. What's your thinking behind this statement?
    – Maca
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 2:16
  • This sounds more like a european view, where that is true-ish.
    – user18033
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 6:18

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