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Wondering what an example of a "good" patent is in Software Development. Basically wondering:

  1. How long the good ones typically are (a range of sizes).
  2. How much scope one patent contains, or if they should be broken into smaller parts somehow.
  3. How much depth it should go into.

For (3), I can imagine including unit tests or other actual snippets of code to clarify some aspects. Or perhaps it should be more like a research paper with a few diagrams and some initial experiments, and maybe some interfaces defined in code, maybe some algorithms need to be defined too, etc.

For (2), if your patent was "the internet" or "the first database" or "the first computer", those are broad topics, as opposed to "a specific algorithm for sorting". In the case of the former, I'm wondering if there are any examples to take a look at where one "invention" was divided across multiple patents, to get a sense of how the limited the scope in each of them. Google cars might be a good example, where they have the whole car hardware part, the whole machine learning part, the whole camera part, etc. The machine learning part could be broken down into machine learning part A, and ML part B, part C, etc. Those could be broken down to specific algorithms, one patent for each. But that seems like too much, it could be in the thousands of patents in that case. Basically wondering at a high level how scope is managed.

For (1), if there is a general length to the good ones. If they are typically longer or shorter, or if it doesn't matter and instead depends on the depth or something else.

Generally wondering about these 3 things.

In looking through some initial patents on "Software Web Application Google Patent"

At first glance it seems that 5-10 pages is around what these software patents are about, with heavy citations and not that much depth. Even complex "topics" like satelite stuff is roughly the same too. I would have expected significantly more depth, but maybe this is all it takes.

By "good" I mean that it will hold up under scrutiny, reads well, and is something to model after.

Other things I found helpful:

  • A big issue in patents now is patent eligibility. Software related patents issued five years ago or longer are not necessarily good examples. You need to avoid the characterizations oof your claimed invention of being "only an abstract idea with nothing more" when the Supreme Court is unwilling to define either abstract idea or "something more". Something that makes a computer better at being a computer is good. Doing something that has been done before but now you are doing it on a computer is bad. I would look at recent patents issued to Apple, MS and IBM. – George White Apr 11 at 2:12
  • You might want to focus on patents issued post Alice: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Eric Shain Apr 11 at 2:14

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