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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.

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    The answer is "yes, but" or "maybe" and depends on the specifics of the case. – DonQuiKong May 3 at 7:02
  • @DonQuiKong Thank you, for the response. Any legal documentation you may speculate on my OP and relay for me to read up on? – ABC May 5 at 1:10
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    It's an evolving field with yet to be clearly defined boundaries. You can look at the US Mpep and EPO guidelines for examination and/or case law of the boards of appeal. You'll get a good start with the term "computer implemented invention." – DonQuiKong May 5 at 6:44
  • @DonQuiKong Really appreciate you taking the time out, to respond. – ABC May 5 at 19:55

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