Is it possible to patent or maybe copyright a process of protecting say a file format as a software utility patent, or another type of patent if it uses free domain technology?
The main hurdle I am questioning is about trying to receive some input on where to look for legal documentation. Documentation or feedback responses based on if you are protecting a file format, say it uses public domain software such as the MD5 hash algorithm. Yet, this public domain software has not been used in a method for protecting certain file formats in a specific manner of the embodiment of said software in question to be patented. Is this open to be patented?
If used in conjunction with other aspects of steps, to reach a final result. Are you allowed to patent something that uses other public freely domain aspects of software?
A great example would be:
You use the MD5 free hash algorithm with salt key, but it involves other algorithmic design aspects or process steps. Then applies them to said file formats to ultimately form a software process that protects file's unlike anything that exists presently.
I am new to patent's and anything or advice would be helpful. Just as someone might have patented the '.docx' file format, but may you patent a process that uses processes to secure these file formats in conjunction with public domain algorithms such as the MD5 hash algorithm, but more detail obviously are involved.