RPL has extensive experience protecting innovative financial service technology; trading platforms, transaction card systems, payment processing, and more. Patrick’s first experiences in the space was through several years of helping to develop and expand the patent portfolio of a Fortune 100 financial services giant. Financial services can be protected using any of the IP protection regimes; patents, trade secrets, trademarks, and copyrights.
Many financial services based patents are software based. Like all software patent applications, financial services patents face an obstacle in the patent eligibility analyses set forth by recent case law. Due to the recent changes in the USPTO analysis of patent eligibility, many software patent applications have recently been rejected as being directed to abstract ideas, which cannot be patented. Common examples of abstract ideas include methods of organizing human activity, mathematical relationships, and “an idea of itself” (such as mental processes that can be performed by a human mind).
Being mindful of the patent eligibility concepts during product development and the patent writing process offers the best chance at obtaining patent protection. Consulting with a patent attorney during the development phases can help identify the aspects of your technology that are most likely to be protectable, or can direct you to protecting your technology through trade secrets instead of patents.
Patent searching can be useful to help you assess both the likelihood of securing patent protection (through a patentability searching opinion) and to help you assess the likelihood of infringing existing patents (through a freedom to operate search and opinion).
If patentable, utility patents are most often used to patent financial services inventions. Working with a patent attorney that has experience with financial services technology can help you quickly focus on the key protectable innovations you have developed and the best strategies for patenting those products.
Trade secrets protect proprietary information that you are able to keep confidential. With financial services technology, this is most frequently the software powering the technology. If not patentable, and sometimes even if patentable, it can be useful to protect the invention simply by actively protecting the secrecy of the key aspects of the software, the functional algorithms and the like that drive the unique features and functions.
Unlike patent protection, which is limited to 20 years, trade secret protection lasts indefinitely, as long as you take certain steps to maintain the secrecy of the technology. In other words, the trade secret protection lasts until the information is disclosed, unintentionally or not. If the trade secrets embodied in your fintech would be difficult to reverse engineer, it may be preferable to protect them by maintaining them as trade secrets rather than pursuing patent protection. It can be valuable to think through this analysis with an IP attorney to best plan your trade secret protection.
Branding is another avenue for establishing the IP rights of the financial services technology. Unlike patent rights, trademark rights do not expire so long as the mark is continuously in use with the associated goods and services and renewal documents are filed periodically. While the patent landscape changes over time due to the constantly evolving state of the art, trademark rights established early on may continue to build and strengthen over time.
Branding raises risks of trademark infringement. Trademark searching is an important tool to assess the infringement risk when bringing the product to market. It is also helpful when establishing a product or brand name to ensure it is distinct and not confusingly similar to other names in the space so it may be registered as a trademark itself.
RPL’s attorneys have a strong background in financial services IP protection and would like to assist you in protecting your fintech innovation.
RPL protects IP for financial institutions and other businesses providing financial services, including trading services, payment processing and more.
RPL works with clients to protect their mobile app IP with strong and enforceable patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.
RPL protects wearable technology inventions from smart watches and fitness trackers to innovative clothing and accessories and medical products.