IP protection for software. It’s complicated

As we move deeper into the fourth industrial revolution, software is becoming ever more inextricably linked to how we live and work. With advances in technologies such as cloud computing, the internet of things, machine learning, block chain and quantum computing, new developments in software are continuing to change the world we live in at a rapid pace.

Although there are many companies whose sole focus is software development, there are a growing numbers of companies who are developing new software as part of a wider technological offering. Consequently, it is growing increasingly common for large software developers to see themselves as technology companies, rather than as software companies.

Patent protection, when available, can be an extremely useful tool for securing strong protection for software-related developments. However, patent protection for software is not always possible, owing in part to software sitting in a grey area of what can and cannot be patented. In some cases, forms of IP other than patents (e.g. copyright) may be a more effective route for protecting software.

In view of the complicated legal framework that exists around software inventions, a company looking to secure protection for new software-related developments needs sound advice to if they are to get to an IP position that suits their needs. Here at Mewburn Ellis, we have the technical and legal expertise needed to help our clients achieve this.

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IP Protection for software-based products - An Introduction for SMEs

Campaign Resource Booklet

Led by James Leach, this booklet explores the different types of IP protection available for software-based products and provide practical guidance on how these different forms of IP can be used to provide meaningful protection. We also look at how to go about developing an IP strategy that fits with your company’s business model and goals. 


view the booklet
Software Fixed Fee-1 (1)

Fixed-fee patent eligibility opinions on software patents

Patent applications for inventions relating to software can sometimes run into problematic patent eligibility objections at the EPO. By using our  fixed-fee opinion service, it is possible to get a considered view on whether a proposed European patent filing will encounter such an objection, before incurring the significant costs associated with filing a European patent application.

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Software Report Mock-Up

Software Inventions: UKIPO and EPO approaches to patent eligibility

Special Report

It is well-known that it can be challenging to obtain patent protection for inventions relating to software in Europe. Indeed, it is common for software developers to assume that European patent protection is not available for their innovations

In this report we take a close look at whether the European Patent Office (“EPO”) and the UK Intellectual Property Office (“UKIPO”) handle software inventions differently. We also reveal some strategic insights that we think will be of benefit to companies seeking patent protection for software inventions in the UK and Europe.

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Talk to our software specialists

James Leach - Oct 2022

Partner, Patent Attorney


Partner, Patent Attorney

John Addiss

Partner, Patent Attorney

Lucy Coe

Associate, Patent Attorney


Associate, Patent Attorney

Rebecca Frith

Patent Technical Assistant 

Forward Magazines Overlapping 8

Mewburn Ellis


Mewburn Ellis Forward is a biannual publication that celebrates the best of innovation and exploration. Through its pages we hope to inform and entertain, but also to encourage discussion about the most compelling developments taking place in the scientific and entrepreneurial world. Along the way, we’ll engage with the IP challenges that international organisations face every day.