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Software Patent Example – Orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) Data Transmission

Patent registration process in India for software and mobile applications is visible from review of granted patents. Indian Patent Office has recently granted a patent to Qualcomm covering a method of transmitting data from a transmitting entity to a receiving entity in a wireless multi-antenna communication system utilizing orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM).

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Software Patent Claims

A review of Indian Patent number 336295 corresponding to patent application number 340/DELNP/2012 shows the scope of software patents in India. This patent is titled “A METHOD OF TRANSMITTING DATA AND AN APPARATUS THEREOF” and the primary independent claim includes the steps of,

transmitting data to a receiving entity using a first mode if channel response estimates for the receiving entity are unavailable to a transmitting entity; and,

transmitting data to the receiving entity using a second mode if the channel response estimates for the receiving entity are available to the transmitting entity.

The independent claim 1 also includes a limitation stating that data symbols are spatially processed with steering vectors or matrices derived from the channel response estimates in the second mode.

In use, the claimed invention of this patent is aimed at providing techniques for transmitting data in a multi-antenna communication system that utilizes orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM). This patent was earlier filed at WIPO as PCT/US2005/007020.

The granted patent claims also include an apparatus claim, which includes limitations as:

  1. An apparatus in a wireless multi-antenna communication system utilizing orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM), comprising:

a controller (740) to select a first mode for data transmission to a receiving entity if channel response estimates for the receiving entity are unavailable and select a second mode for data transmission to the receiving entity if the channel response estimates are available,

wherein data symbol are spatially processed with pseudo-random steering vectors in the first mode and with steering vectors derived from the channel response estimates in the second mode; and

a spatial processor (840) to perform spatial processing for each block of data symbols in accordance with the mode selected for the block.

As may be seen from above, this Qualcomm patent includes both the method and apparatus claims in the final claims.

Software Patent Drafting

Patent attorneys draft software patents or patents covering mobile applications by focusing on innovative features. These innovative features are decided by reviewing the benefits provided to the users (B2B or B2C). The patent claims include these features as the foundation of the patent so that the patent office can examine the novelty and patent eligibility of the invention.

Patent Filing Process

Inventors and innovative companies initiate the patent process for protection of digital innovations including software and mobile applications. A mobile app can be patented even before it is officially announced in the market and to other potential investors. This would help in protecting the invention from being duplicated in the competitive market.

Essentially, the patent grants the inventors rights sanctioned by the government that helps them protect their product and legally sue anyone who duplicates it or illegally sells the invention for a particular period. This is granted for 20 years and supports a first-to-file system rather than the first-to-invent system. The World Intellectual Property Organization acknowledges it as an Intellectual Property Right (IPRs) concerned with the creations of the mind, such as inventions, artistic works, designs, symbols, and images used in commerce. Some examples of granted patent in this field can be seen by reviewing the patent portfolio of Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm, IBM, Facebook, Google, Instagram, Spotify, and Dropbox.

The patent drafting process also includes analysis of patents granted in the relevant field of patent classification. Patent attorneys use such insights while drafting of patent application by retrieving and studying large groups of relevant patents to map out the details.

Another important aspect studied by patent attorneys includes deciding a strength of the patent at the time of filing. This covers understanding and anticipating the patent value by assuming that a patent will eventually be litigated in a court of law. Therefore, the patent claims should be able to withstand the test of validity during such situations.