The ability to patent is not limited to physical items. If you’ve come up with an idea for a website, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that you can’t patent the website itself, as a website is made up of a tremendous number of different components, including design elements and coding. However, the good news is that you can patent a website idea and various components of a website. Additionally, even if a patent isn’t securable, you can file for a copyright or trademark.
What Can Be Patented On A Website?
Just like any other patent you file, you must prove that your invention is new, useful, and non-obvious. This can be incredibly difficult to do, as you must demonstrate that your idea is not a direct spin-off of something that previously exists.
You’ll only be able to file one type of patent – a utility patent. A design patent protects an article of manufacture, which is not applicable here. A utility patent protects “processes,” which is what you’ll be looking to protect. This can include software and business models.
Protect Yourself By Copyrighting Or Trademarking
Securing a copyright from the US Copyright Office is easier than securing a patent. Doing so can protect you in case anyone was to steal your intellectual property or website idea. If you register your copyright, it will be easier to demonstrate proof of ownership if your work were to be infringed upon. Technically your work is copyrighted once you publish it, but taking time to file and register the copyright will give you more legal backing.
If you’re looking to protect an entire website or idea for a website, you can also consider trademarking. When filing a trademark, you’ll first want to search for your potential website’s name on the US Patent Office website. If your search reveals a match, you’ll want to consider a new name for your website. If you think your website name will bring you a substantial amount of income, or if you simply want to protect the property that’s yours, then consider trademarking the website name.