Do you have in your mind an exclusive app idea? Are you afraid anyone would take it from you and use it in front of you? Well, fortunately, intellectual property law safeguards mobile app ideas, particularly patent, trademark, and copyright law. Many developers and start-up owners claim that their app inventions are patented to prevent anyone from using, producing, or selling them.
It is important to patent a new app concept to defend it from the copycats on the market as they may want a chance to steal it. However, in order to be immune to patent law, the app design should be unique and exclusive. If it’s a clone of other games, your efforts will be in vain.
How to patent a mobile app” is one of the most asked questions by startups and entrepreneurs before starting the development of mobile apps.” In this post, in case you have a specific app concept, we will cover the ultimate guide on patenting a mobile app idea before discussing it with the app development team.
What does patenting an idea for a mobile app mean?
A patent is, in plain words, an intellectual property rule that
- Protects from unauthorized and/or non-consensual use of the app concepts.
- Prohibit other businesses or individuals from modifying or selling it, taking into account the rightful owner of the app concept.
- Ensures that by unfairly taking credit for your unique concept, nobody gets profits or ruins.
Will you patent the concept for your mobile app?
Yes, as it’s an aspect with different ways of communicating, you can patent a mobile app design. As it falls under the legal category protected by copyrights, the app code cannot be copyrighted. Therefore, for performing a particular job, you will patent the manner or method of the app that it follows.
Why Patent an Idea App?
In the sense of being your exclusive intellectual property, your app definition authorizes security. You hold the right to claim compensation from any individual who seeks to circumvent existing patent laws by using an official patent. Here are the key reasons for an app concept being patented:
- Any clone of your initial application that is added before or in the lineup with the latter can be legally accused.
- The uniqueness and originality of your app concept is legally proven by your patent.
- No cunning party can financially manipulate the concept of your mobile app.
What are the eligibility conditions for a patent qualification?
The patent validity for a mobile app concept is determined by three prime points. They are the following:
- It must have been an invention
For safeguarding innovations, patents are used. They are given to the invention, as per WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), which is explained as a solution to all issues.
The app method is classified as an innovation, because the mobile app definition is not a physical thing. Nevertheless, just like every innovation, the procedure should solve any problem.
- Your App Concept should be fresh and original
Even if the idea of your mobile app solves the problems of users, it does not mean that it qualifies for a patent. Initial and fresh should be the application definition.
It should not have been released publicly sooner, integrating YouTube videos, books, journals, patent applications pending, and other outlets. It should be original and it must not exist, otherwise you will not patent it.
- It should be graded as helpful
Being qualified as a helpful app does not mean that the definition of your application should not be in the category of entertainment or anything else like that. Your app just needs to work in principle, at least. This limitation prohibits individuals from patenting such apps that are not helpful.
Therefore, a detailed and concrete description must be made, such as how your app operates to assert it as your asset.
How to check whether or not the app concept has already been copyrighted
You need to verify whether another party is already patenting a potentially unique mobile app design. For this purpose, on any associated app idea that is either pending or marketed, a thorough study is needed. Where this information is processed and accessed, your state or country may have an operational database.
In addition, you can review data relating to various international patents via the WIPO IPC Catchword Index. You can understand how to patent a concept for an app this way.
Basic steps for patenting a mobile app concept to pursue
Here are the foundational steps you can take to learn how to patent an idea for an app.
- Discover and file with a lawyer for patents
You need to work with and hire a patent attorney who deals with software patenting to present a precisely made top-notch patent and optimize the scope of your patent application being picked. In this, he / she must be skilled.
It could incorporate litigation as it is a legal practice. So, don’t try to do it yourself and just recruit a specialist. It’s not recommended that you pick the first lawyer you find. Make a comprehensive analysis and search for the one that fits your budget.
- Disclose the Invention of your Smartphone App
Getting a design for an app does not mean that the task is done. To validate its convenience, you have to put the concept into practice, and this is one of its eligibility conditions to be patented. Before granting a patent against your software, when the court asks for proper evidence of your innovation, you need to ensure that the entire process of app creation is registered.
In addition, to test its flow, you can create a prototype of your mobile app. This would encourage your lawyer to analyze the flowchart of your software, since it is not the code, but the proprietary app procedures and features. It can evaluate the app’s various operations in different industries beautifully and gives you a fresh way to think about what other components in your app are entitled to be patented.
- Patent Quest exercise
You may have trained well, but you are still encouraged to recruit a patent attorney who performs a global quest for applications that are identical to yours or have the same flows or functionalities.
You may therefore refrain from any unforeseen violation by other organizations. It is safer to invest some money and to ensure that your patent has the full scope to be accepted.
- File a Patent Application Provisional or Non-Provisional
Provisional and Non-Provisional Patent Applications are two forms that you can use with your mobile app as a patent application.
You may file a provisional application without a formal patent claim, declaration or even a declaration of disclosure of data. Some advantages are offered by this application type:
- Allows the ‘Patent Pending’ term to be used on an app.
- It takes 12 months to build the MVP.
- In contrast with non-provisional applications, it is less expensive to plan.
You may file non-provisional applications without any argument generated on the application made in the country of the convention or with no connection to the app that is present in the proceedings. A complete argument and requirements should follow it. It has to include a written explanation of the invention and an argument that legally describes the invention.
In order to choose between provisional and non-provisional requests, you must consider:
- How long do you want patent text expenditures to be delayed?
- How fast you want to get your patent recognized.
If your need is correlated with the aforementioned second stage, the best choice for you is non-provisional. Only go for a provisional application if the first one is your requirement.
- Submit a Patent Request
This is the last step in patenting a concept for a mobile app. After successfully completing the above steps and preparing a patent application, you need to file it with the USPTO.
While it’s a boring process that needs a lot of documentation, you should explore it. During this process, some vital documents that you might need include:
- Declaration or Oath
- Statement of Data Disclosure
- Type of Entity Status
- Data Sheet Application
- Treaty of Patent Cooperation (Optional and for International Filings)
- Cover Sheet
- Fee Sheet
- Application to Make Special (Optional)
What to do when the idea of the software is already patented?
If your patent analysis shows that someone else has already patented the idea, you don’t need to lose faith. Cautiously study the patent and understand how to make your app distinct from the old one. Just don’t give up on the idea, because to make it better and fresh, you can still improve it and innovate it.
When is it appropriate for you to apply for a patent?
Patenting an app these days is not considered by the person who first invented it, but by the person who files the patent against it. This is the most significant explanation why start-ups and company owners like to file a provisional patent before publicly revealing critical information.
Before talking about it to any promising investor, you can find several patent lawyers who suggest patenting an app concept. You should make yourself ready to file easily if you have signed a non-disclosure agreement.
How much does patenting a mobile app cost?
Undoubtedly, the costs associated with mobile app patents differ according to the type of a patent. The price range for provisional patents is between $2000 and $5000. After using a provisional patent, you can refine the app and launch it to see its popularity in the market. The validity of a provisional patent expires one year after the grant of the provisional patent.
The non-provisional patent price range is between $10000 and $15000. For several years, however, an admin body reviews your patent application to see whether or not it merits a patent.
How much time is it required to patent a mobile app?
Applications are refused several times and they need to be submitted again. This back and forth process will last almost 4-6 years, depending on the circumstances.
You must now be aware that it takes hard work to patent an app concept. However, you must patent your app if you believe in your product and feel that it has the potential to become an invention. The procedure may be slightly crucial, but it is less boring than dealing with some clone apps that steal
The Folio3 Shopify creator is Matt Joseph. The developer of the games featured here, 20-plus, is Matt, a Folio3 Shopify blogger, who also talks about the website design NZ and creation of apps and the future of technology at outlets ranging from Bloomberg TV to Google TV. He currently employed in Folio3 custom shopify app development Company.