Do you feel pride in your original idea? Then, you thought that someone could steal it and apply it for his purpose. You know that there are intellectual property laws for trademark and other assets. Similarly, your ideas for mobile apps must have protection with these intellectual property laws.
Several entrepreneurs and startups looking for ways to patent mobile app ideas to prevent resale, reuse, and other illegal activities. If you have refined your mobile application, there are market copycats trying to procure your app illegally. Ultimately, you may not earn much profit from your app.
Patenting the idea for mobile apps
Have you heard the story of conflicts between Microsoft and Apple? Apple has charged against Microsoft for stealing their mobile app ideas. Apple has obtained the idea from the UI of Lisa. However, this company had not invested in the patent, and finally, Microsoft became the winner.
A patent refers to the law related to intellectual properties. It helps in protecting your mobile app ideas from illegal and non-consensual use. You can claim yourself as the owner of the app and prevent others from modifying and selling it. Besides, the patent makes sure that no one can snatch away your credit for creating a unique app.
Is there any way to patent the idea for mobile apps?
You can surely patent a mobile app idea, as it is one of the elements with various interaction methods. However, you cannot patent the mobile app code since the copyright laws cover it. You may also patent your application development method to perform an activity. Shortly, we can say that the app is what makes your mobile work in a particular way.
Let us now make a list of app-related things that you can patent.
- Data pushing
- Messaging services
- User identification
- Security tasks
- Device interactions
- Data privacy
- Third-party transaction
- Presenting data on a mobile
- Reporting feedback
- Database creation
- Server and mobile processing
- Mobile UI processing
Under the US statutory laws, patents applicable for smartphone apps are of two types
- Design patents- They ensure protection to the unique app design.
- Utility patents- These common types of patents are intended for new processes.
We will discuss more on mobile app patents to help you in making decisions.
Mobile app patent- What are the prerequisites?
1. The app must be your own invention
With your blood and sweat, you have developed a creative mobile app design. By applying for a patent, you can protect your product. We cannot compare an app to an object. It is a type of invention, and thus, you can patent your mobile app.
2. The app should have uniqueness and originality
Have you created a patent-worthy mobile app idea? You may not always be sure about it. To remove your confusion, you have to check out the other apps and ensure that there is no other similar app idea. Moreover, your idea must not be in any other format, like videos, articles, pending patents, and books. Thus, you will be eligible for patents while you have launched a distinguished app.
3. Useful and functional
The app must give value to users from different perspectives. You need to confirm that your app is based on a reliable theory and works best for the intended users. With detailed clarification and high concentration, you can claim ownership of your app.
Has someone already applied for a patent for a similar mobile app idea?
Some other parties might have already obtained a patent for an app idea similar to yours. To avoid any issue, you have to research every relevant app idea available in the app store. Moreover, your country may have a database to provide you with essential information.
You may also browse through WIPO’s IPC Catchword Index to get pertinent data about international patents.
4. Look for a patent lawyer
To develop the best patent and find a chance of getting approval for the patent, you have to engage a certified patent attorney. The professional attorney knows the litigation and the legal process for the application.
5. Disclosure of your invention of the app
The app idea is 50% of the overall development process. You must follow a few steps to convert it into reality. These steps will ensure the app feasibility and increase your eligibility opportunities. The law court will always ask you to show proof of the app invention. Therefore, you must document the app development app and design the app prototype to make the application successful.
Your legal representative can identify your app flowchart, as you will patent your app processes and functionalities.
6. Make some efforts for your patent search
Your attorney will collaborate with you to conduct a search for your patent applications. With his professional guidance, you can keep away from unanticipated conflicts and infringements.
7. Choose between provisional and non-provisional patent applications
Patent applications for apps are of two types. There is no need for formal claim and declaration with the provisional apps. You will get a year for the MVP development. Moreover, you may use the phrase, patent-pending on your mobile apps. The provisional application is also a more affordable option for app owners.
Conversely, you can file a non-provisional application without claims. However, you have to write a description of your app, and your claim has to legally represent the invention.
Now, the question is- Which one is the better choice for you? To make your decision, you need to focus on two other issues.
- Do you need the grant for your patent within a short time?
- How much will you delay the patent analysis costs?
- While the first query is relevant to you, you may go for the non-provisional one.
8. Submit the mobile app patent application
It is the last step to obtain your mobile app patent. As you have gone through the essential steps and prepared the application, you can file it. However, the app patent application is a time-consuming process that needs paperwork. To avoid complications, you have to arrange documents, like
- Entity Status Form
- Information Disclosure Statement
- Cover Sheet and Fee Sheet
- Application Data Sheet
9. Waiting for the patent
In some cases, repeated rejections and resubmissions can make the process lengthy. Thus, the overall process may cover more than 5 years. The Facebook owner, Mark Zuckerberg, waited for 6 years to accomplish the process. Now, submit your application and wait for the approval.
Is patenting the right choice for you?
Although patenting is essential, it is not essential for every app owner. Startups have to know the patent filing cost before sending the application. Furthermore, there are different instances related to your patent violation. At times, the stringent ones may not ensure the right protection level for your app. With minor variations, others can introduce a new app. It is better to speak to your app development company to make your decision.