263-5054-00L  Patenting Digital Innovations

SemesterAutumn Semester 2022
LecturersA. Ilic, B. Best
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish
CommentNumber of participants limited to 50.


263-5054-00 SPatenting Digital Innovations
2-day seminar.
25s hrs
06.10.08:15-17:00HG F 26.3 »
07.10.08:15-17:00HG F 26.3 »
A. Ilic, B. Best

Catalogue data

AbstractIn this seminar dedicated to digital innovations, we will bust the most stubborn myths around AI software patents such as “Software/AI isn’t patentable”, “AI patents are useless because you can’t figure out if they are infringed”, and many others. We will look at how AI and software start-ups can use patents to create a strong IP position in a scalable way.
ObjectiveAfter attending this course, students will be able to:
- Understand the basics of patenting in the digital space relevant for a global market
- Evaluate patenting opportunities with a more differentiated view on the topic
- Effectively use patents as a cost-effective part of a technology startup’s business plan
- Conduct patent searches, freedom-to-operate analysis and infringement analyses
- Write their first software/AI-related invention disclosure suitable for patenting
ContentThe course is focused on patenting digital innovations. It is designed for students with entrepreneurial interests that like to get a hands-on perspective on the topic of intellectual property strategies and patents.

The seminar includes presentations and practical group exercises to apply the acquired knowledge in practice. Entrepreneurs and leading IP experts are joining the seminar as guest speakers for discussion of real-life examples.

Topics that will be covered include:
- Best practices that any AI/software startups should know about IP and patents
- How investors evaluate a strong IP situation of a start-up
- How to efficiently monitor competitor patent activity and obtain “FTO”
- How to create an effective patent filing strategy that grows with the business
- How to efficiently create AI patents while not getting distracted from the founder’s core business

The course also contains a group work of a “FTO battle” where two teams compete in a freedom-to-operate analysis and individual work to write their first invention disclosure related to an AI or software topic.

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits1 credit
ExaminersA. Ilic, B. Best
Typeungraded semester performance
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionRepetition only possible after re-enrolling for the course unit.
Additional information on mode of examinationShort presentation (15 mins + Q&A) & group work: Freedom-to-Operate analysis & defense

Learning materials

Main linkInformation
Only public learning materials are listed.


No information on groups available.


Places50 at the most
PriorityRegistration for the course unit is until 02.10.2022 only possible for the primary target group
Primary target groupRobotics, Systems and Control MSc (159000)
Electrical Engin. + Information Technology MSc (237000)
Cyber Security MSc (260000)
Cyber Security MSc (EPFL) (260100)
Data Science MSc (261000)
Computer Science MSc (263000)
Doctorate Computer Science (264002)
Management, Technology, and Economics MSc (363000)
Waiting listuntil 05.10.2022

Offered in

Doctorate Computer ScienceSubject SpecialisationWInformation
Computer Science MasterElective CoursesWInformation