I have developed a fault tolerant control method which I am trying to get patented. I have used scipy and numpy in the simulations which serves as a proof of concept. Would the fact that I've used open source software pose any problems?

Note: It's not any software or piece of code that I am trying to patent but a method. The open source stuff is used to demonstrate the application.

2 Answers 2


As no proof of concept is required, it doesn't matter how you got one. Or if.

  • Although what you say is true, it isn’t bad to show proof of concept. In either case using open source tools doesn’t matter at all.
    – Eric S
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 20:55
  • @EricShain I haven't seen a well written patent containing source code. Doesn't mean there aren't any, but most that do... well ...
    – user18033
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 18:28
  • I'm not suggesting showing source code. However, if you implement the invention using open source tools and then, for example, show a plot of the results the plot may demonstrate the invention works. The spec would describe how the plot was generated. I've seen this before.
    – Eric S
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 19:55

There are at least two things you should look out for.

First of all, will the performance of your invention, making, using or selling it, involve use, copying or distribution of the software? If so, you need to check your licensing status -- will your proposed commercial activities be outside the scope of any license that you need?

Second, your patent application (specification) must give an enabling disclosure of your invention. If you used the software for demonstrating or developing the invention in a way that must be disclosed in the specification, does/did that use violate any license terms under which the software was used?

'Proof of concept' is generally almost irrelevant to a patent application and an invention. Your patent needs to describe, not merely a concept, but an actual invention, i.e. something new, unobvious and useful that can be made and used with effect by following the description in the specification. See 35 USC 112 and corresponding statutes in other jurisdictions. Generally speaking, concept and/or proof of concept might not necessarily amount to a performable invention, and in such a case the concept would not be enough.

  • Numpy and Scipy licenses are extremely liberal and basically just say that if you redistribute the software you need to maintain the copyright notice and disclaimer. This is one reason scipy and numpy are so popular in business uses. scipy.org/scipylib/license.html, docs.scipy.org/doc/numpy-1.15.1/license.html
    – Eric S
    Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 18:03
  • @Eric S : It's good to know that there are liberal licenses about, and that numpy and scipy are among them. So the answers to the questions I suggested would in those cases most likely be favorable. But that doesn't mean the questions do not need to be asked: some developers in other circumstances may find themselves in less favorable positions.
    – terry-s
    Commented Jan 25, 2022 at 17:04

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