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Austin is a city with a booming tech industry. From tech-startups to established companies, Austin is a community that is constantly pushing the boundaries of innovation and creativity. Whether you are a tech professional, an entrepreneur, or simply interested in the tech industry, understanding patent rights can help you navigate the complex landscape of technological advancement in Austin.

A patent is a form of intellectual property protection that gives the inventor of a new product or process the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling their invention for a set period of time. In the tech industry, patents play a critical role in safeguarding the investments that companies make in research and development. By obtaining a patent, companies can protect their ideas and innovations from being copied by competitors. 

However, it’s important to note that not all inventions are eligible for patent protection. In the tech industry, software and business methods are among the types of innovations that can be too abstract to be patented.  So, inventions of this type must be carefully defined as a real-world application rather than a merely conceptual one.  These limitations can be a challenge for tech companies that rely on these types of innovations to drive their business.

If the invention is eligible, the process of applying for a patent can be complex and expensive, especially for smaller companies or individual inventors. First, the company or inventor must describe the invention to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and demonstrate that their invention is novel and non-obvious. Then, the USPTO examines the application to determine if the invention is patent-worthy. This examination process can take a long time and involves Patent Attorneys arguing the merits of the invention.

Here in Austin, where the tech industry is growing rapidly, going through the process to obtain a patent can be especially important for startups and smaller tech companies. Such companies often have limited resources and must protect their innovations to compete with larger tech giants. By obtaining a patent, they can secure their place in the market and differentiate themselves from their competitors.  In addition to protecting innovations from copycats, patents can be valuable assets that can be sold or licensed to other companies. This can provide a source of income for tech companies and help them to grow and expand their business.

The tech industry in Austin is thriving and patent rights play a critical role in safeguarding the investments and innovations of tech companies in the city. Obtaining a patent can provide valuable protection for startups and smaller tech companies, helping them to differentiate themselves from their competitors and secure their place in the market. Understanding patent rights is key for anyone looking to succeed in the tech industry in Austin.

Bryce Johnson is a patent lawyer and partner in the Austin office for Buche & Associates, P.C. 

phone: 512-215-4997