Can you patent a website? 7 Answers as of December 23, 2010

I have a great idea for a website. Can I get a patent on it, even though I do not physically own a product, it's just a site on the internet?

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Handal & Morofsky LLC
Handal & Morofsky LLC | Anthony H. Handal
Websites may be protected by a variety of mechanisms. Functionality can be protected by a utility patent. Its design may be protected by a design patent or a copyright.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 12/23/2010
Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
Yes - It can be patented.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 12/21/2010
Michael M. Ahmadshahi
Michael M. Ahmadshahi | Michael M. Ahmadshahi, Ph.D., Esq.
A website that performs a task is patentable.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/20/2010
Fish & Associates, PC
Fish & Associates, PC | Robert D. Fish
You can if it has inventive subject matter. But the vast, vast majority of websites have nothing inventive about them. The way to protect those is through copyright.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/20/2010
DANIEL NESBITT
DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
A website generally cannot be patented. More typically, a copyright is used to identify a website and its content as the original work of its creator.

Nevertheless, specific aspects, including the layout of features on a webpage, can be the subject matter of either a utility patent or a design patent. A new idea (more accurately termed an invention) for websites and website features must be novel and not obvious. An essential step is to conduct a search of the internet itself for the same "idea".

Please consider calling me to discuss a few more details, and to help you understand what services I can provide.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 12/20/2010
    Young Basile
    Young Basile | Denise Glassmeyer
    In order to obtain a valid United States patent, the claimed subject matter must be new, useful and non-obvious. In theory if your website meets these statutory requirements, it can be patented. It will depend on the specifics. Most of the time there is a lot of intellectual property that goes into any website - and much of it is subject to protection by tools other than patent.

    When looking at what goes into your website, a simple way to classify the intellectual property (IP) is to group it as "content", "identity" and "technology". The IP directed to content - images, text, sound recordings etc - is usually protected by copyright. The IP directed to identity trade names, slogans, tag lines and trade symbols-is generally subject to trade mark protection. The IP related to technology - software programs, business methods etc. - is can be subject to patent protection.

    The best advice in this situation is to discuss this with your IP attorney as the right answer in situations like the one posed by this question very fact-dependant.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/19/2010
    Malhotra Law Firm, PLLC
    Malhotra Law Firm, PLLC | Deepak Malhotra
    Sure you can, at least in the US. That would be a software patent. You can patent the unique functionality, controls, layout, menu sequence, or whatever is novel.

    You should also include a hardware drawing or functional block diagram to avoid "Bilski" rejections.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/17/2010
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