How To Patent Your Mobile App, And Everything Else You Need To Know About It.
Have a great idea for a unique mobile app?
Well, we’d suggest you not wait another day and get it patented right away.
Application development can take a long time — from a few months to a year or two. Several people will be exposed to your mobile app and app’s idea during this long period. And with that, the possibility of misuse cannot be ruled out.
So, we agree that getting a patent is undoubtedly a lot of work, but they are equally necessary if you want to protect your application from all the idea thieves in the market.
You see, the app economy is growing steadily and more competitive than ever.
Time to market is a key differentiator between high-yield and medium-yield applications.
Even if you have an original and best app, an imitator steals your idea and publishes it before you can get a big share of your net downloads and potential profits.
If you want to patent an idea for an application or the application itself — your brain might be swamped by dozens of questions right now. You may have heard that software cannot be patented. Then how do you patent an idea? How much does it cost? How to go about it, and what if your idea has already been patented by someone else?
Those are all crucial questions, and we will answer them all for you today.
So, what does it take to patent your app? Let’s find out.
What Does It Mean To Patent Your App?
A patent is a type of intellectual property law that can help prevent your ideas from being used by others without your permission. Patents are required to protect against market scammers trying to steal your application’s unique idea.
However, to be the subject of patent law, the idea of the application must be innovative and unique. If the idea or concept is a copy of a pre-existing one, trying to get it patented won’t do any good to you or your business.
Therefore, in the simplest form of words — a patent is a type of intellectual property law that would:
- Protect your application concepts from unauthorized and inconsistent use.
- As you are the rightful owner of the idea for your application, modification or sale by other companies or individuals is prohibited.
- Make sure no one wins or loses money by unfairly claiming credit for your original invention.
Why Should You Get Your App Patented?
Well, there are several reasons to patent an application idea.
Firstly, it prevents clones of apps from appearing on the market before or shortly after launch and stealing downloads.
Second, and more importantly, have you ever heard of ugly patent infringement lawsuits and the ugly prices developers have to pay for them?
Getting involved in litigation can be costly for small business developers. By filing a patent, the developer can prove that he or she was the first to apply and therefore is the rightful owner of the innovation.
If your idea falls into the wrong hands of someone powerful, they will steal your intellectual property and pay you back. When you file a patent application — it sets a time frame to prove that you are the owner of the invention when it is considered in court.
Steps To File A Patent.
When you know what and how of the legal process — even the tough nut to crack such as filing for a patent becomes an easy job, so here are the five easy steps you need to know about filing for a patent.
- Step 1 — Hire A Good Patent Attorney
The first step in patenting an application is to start by discussing and hiring a software patent attorney if you want to file a well-designed, robust patent and screen out your patent application, assuming you have several years of relevant experience.
It is better to hire a professional rather than solve the legal process-oriented issues that can lead to lawsuits on your own. However, hiring an attorney for the first time without research is also a foolish decision. Do thorough research and find the one that best fits your budget.
- Step 2 — Disclosing The Mobile App Invention
Because the idea for your app doesn’t end there, you need to make it a reality and prove its usefulness. This is one of the main parts of getting a patent application. Because courts require specific evidence of the applied idea or concept invention before granting a patent application, the entire process of developing the applied idea must be documented. You should also start prototyping your application to see how it works or its features.
You can also prototype mobile applications to evaluate their functionality. This helps lawyers evaluate the application’s progress because the operation and functionality of the application, not the code, are patented.
It can brilliantly evaluate the various activities of your application in different sectors and give you a new perspective on whether other parts of your application are eligible for patents.
- Step 3 — Search For Existing Patents
It can be frustrating to learn that someone already patents your cherished idea. However, knowledge is important to avoid costly application patent infringement lawsuits later.
That’s why it’s important to do a patent search, and the USPTO’s openness makes it easy. You can log in to the USPTO website and use the “full text and image database” to enter relevant keywords and search all registered patents.
Try a few key phrases. If during your patent search it turns out that someone has already patented your idea, don’t be discouraged now. Take a closer look at patents and think about how you can create applications that differ from existing patents.
As we said, you shouldn’t give up on an idea just because someone else has it. You can always innovate and modify to make something new and better.
- Step 4 — File For Both, A Provisional & Non-Provisional Patent
Most patent applications fall into the category of provisional patent applications. Most mobile app companies start this way regarding their patent process. You may file a provisional application without filing a formal patent application, declaration, or disclosure statement.
If you have a patent-pending, you have the following advantages:
- You will have 12 months to complete the development and improvement of the MVP.
- You can mark a product as “patent pending.” It is cheaper to prepare and file an application compared to unexpected patents.
- You can file an international application and claim priority within one year.
In the case of an unexpected patent application, the application may be filed without confirming the priority of an application filed in a conventional country or without reference to an application currently being processed by the Patent Office.
It should be backed up by a comprehensive specification and set of requirements. Every patent application must contain at least one claim that lawfully defines the scope of the invention to be considered unexpected.
- Step 5 — Submitting The Patent
This is the final step towards patenting an idea. Once you have completed all of the above steps and have prepared your patent application, you must file it with the USPTO. This is a tedious and paper-intensive process, but it must be followed.
Some important documents you may need during the process are:
- Entity Status Form
- Information Disclosure Statement
- Application Data Sheet (ADS)
- (optional) Patent Cooperation Treaty (for International Filings)
- (optional) Application to Make Special
- Fee Sheet
- Cover Sheet
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How To Know If Your App Is Eligible For A Patent?
Just because a popular application can be patented does not always mean that the application is patentable.
First of all, You should determine whether someone has patented a similar application. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recommends conducting a patent search (discussed in detail later) before filing a patent. Look for relevant keywords, usually keywords that can be key to your application’s behavior.
Even if the patent is granted, you can still be sued for patent infringement. The USPTO attempts to determine whether your patent infringes various patents but does not guarantee that it does not.
It’s also important to understand that you can’t just patent an “idea.” A patent must specify in certain elements how an application works.
Unpatentable consists of the mathematical formulas and legal guidelines of nature, innovations that violate the laws of physics, and problems that only the human body can do.
Your application must be considered a “novel.” Therefore, you need to differentiate it from all previous innovations in at least one component. We want these divisions to have consequences. This is obvious, but you can’t patent what’s already on the market or use a method posted by someone else.
Your application also needs to qualify as “non-obvious.” This is the most difficult patent limitation to recognize or influence. To say this isn’t “obvious” mentions that someone working professionally in your field may nevertheless see this as an unexpected achievement. This is subjective and can be frustrating for you and the patent examiner.
Finally, your patent must qualify as “useful.” This does not mean that your application cannot exist for recreation or anything like that. Instead, your application should work, at least in theory. This limitation prevents you from patenting something like “baldness-reversing cream” without understanding some aspects of biochemistry.
This is why you should be completely specific about exactly how your application works, rather than pretending to own an application that does some popular missions without any know-how. Keep in mind that your application must be new. So no temple-run clones, please.
What Are The Other Alternatives Available Other Than Patent
The patent makes it illegal for a third party to sell or manufacture your idea. Trademarks, on the other hand, protect words, phrases, logos, symbols, and other devices that help identify the author’s goods and services by prohibiting their use by other companies. As a result, you can register your app’s logo trademark to prevent competitors from duplicating your logo and confusing your customers.
Copyright, like patents, is a type of intellectual property right that can be used as an alternative to patents. However, legal terms help define the creator or privilege granted to the creator of a work, such as art, intellectual, music, education, or a computer program.
You can also copy, publish, create derivative works, etc., of your work, whether online or not. It also protects the idea itself and the expression of the idea. As a result, the app logo is copyrighted, but the app itself is not copyrighted, as it does not protect ideas, data, operations, or systems.
- Nondisclosure Agreements
An NDA, or nondisclosure agreement, is a document approved by the business partner. Most often, it exists for both you and the mobile app developer. It is legally required to keep application ideas and technical details confidential. This prevents outsiders from using this concept.
The pros and cons of patenting mobile applications are problematic. First, make sure your app ideas aren’t copied or duplicated, but it’s too much work.
So, in our opinion, don’t waste valuable resources such as effort and money unless your app’s ideas are original and innovative and you’re sure to provide a completely new solution to an existing problem.
Please. Applying for a mobile app patent can be a time-consuming and difficult task. However, you can prevent it from being stolen by others with a little patience.
This completes the basic guide to patenting mobile app ideas. This takes a lot of time and effort. However, if you have any problems or questions, you can contact a mobile app developer to answer all your questions.
Frequently Asked Questions For Patenting Your Mobile App Idea (FAQs)
A. Google, Zillow, Facebook are some of the famous companies with patents.
A. There are many ways in which you can earn through your patent, such as Licensing your patent, selling off your patent rights, or even using it as collateral for bank loans.
A. Patents are essentially territorial rights. In general, exclusive rights are only applicable in the country or region where a patent has been filed and granted, in accordance with local law.