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I'm currently pursuing my undergrad at an Indian university. I (and a few of my batchmates) have created a website in our free time, for which we intend to apply for a patent. The website was initially hosted on AWS and we have yesterday started migrating to servers provided by the university itself. I had two questions in my mind.

1) Are websites (if they do something which hasn't been done before) eligible for a patent?

2) If not (1), then can we patent the idea which gave birth to the website?

3) Does the use of the university's servers grant the ownership of the patent to them?

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    In which country do you want patent to be issued?
    – Greendrake
    Aug 9 at 4:40
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    Preferably India, or US Aug 9 at 5:06
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    Did you create the website using University resources? (Labs, computers, etc)? You probably blindly signed something related to using University resources to create things either assigns them the IP rights, or leaves the IP rights with you. You should talk to your University student relations, there isn't a universal answer for this.
    – Ron Beyer
    Aug 9 at 16:56
  • @RonBeyer Since everything is online and classes are being done from home, I've used my laptop and my internet. Only usage is their servers for hosting Aug 10 at 5:33
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  1. Are websites (if they do something which hasn't been done before) eligible for a patent?

Only if it meets the requirements for patentability such as originality, non-obviousness, non-publication, and utility. The fact that a website merely does something that hasn't been done before, however, isn't enough to make an idea patentable.

Also, generally, it is the idea behind a website that is patentable and not the website itself. A website will usually have copyright protection, but will only rarely be eligible for patent protection.

The very act of using the website in a manner accessible to the public which may publicly disclose the idea that you seek to patent threatens its patentability.

  1. If not (1), then can we patent the idea which gave birth to the website?

If the idea behind the website is patentable, yes.

  1. Does the use of the university's servers grant the ownership of the patent to them?

No.

It is conceivable that there could be a separate express agreement between you and the university that some of the work you do as part of the university program at its direction could be considered "work for hire" that belongs to the university (e.g. if it arose from your work as a research assistant and there is an express RA contract that says so).

But, in general, the mere use of the university's services does not give it any rights in a patent that you develop using those servers.

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