Do you have a unique mobile app idea?
Are you worried that someone would steal it from you and use it before you get a chance to put it to use?
Fortunately, app concepts are protected by intellectual property law, including trademark, patent, and mobile app copyright or patent legislation. Many businesses and entrepreneurs assume that patenting an app concept will prevent others from developing, using, or selling it.
Let’s take a closer look at the mobile app patenting procedure.
How to patent an idea for an app
In this section, we’ll look at how to patent an app idea, which is one of the most often requested topics among newcomers to mobile app development.
It’s critical to patent an app idea in order to shield it from market copycats. However, to be subject to patent law, your app concept must be fresh and innovative. It should not be a carbon copy of existing apps.
Before beginning mobile app development, one of the most often requested issues by startups and entrepreneurs is “how to patent a mobile app.” If you have a unique app concept, we will cover the definitive approach to patenting a mobile app idea before discussing it with an app development team.
1. Locate and hire a patent attorney.
You should contact and engage a software patent attorney if you want to submit a well-formed high-end patent and enhance your chances of getting your patent application selected, provided they have appropriate years of expertise.
It is preferable to engage a professional rather than attempt to do it yourself because it is a legal procedure that may entail litigation. It is not a good idea to hire the first lawyer you come across. Do your homework and get the greatest deal within your budget.
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2. Announcement of a new mobile app
“Having a concept is just half the battle.”
To continue with this quotation, one must bring the concept to life (at least to some extent) in order to prove its viability, which is a key qualifying criteria.
You must document the whole development process since the court requires physical proof of your innovation before issuing a patent against your application. You may also develop a prototype of your app to see how it works.
This will greatly assist your attorney in determining the flowchart of your programme, as it is the functionality and procedures of the app that are patentable, not the code.
This is useful for determining the varied implications of your app in various sectors, as well as giving you a fresh path to consider what additional parts of your mobile app are patentable.
3. Search for patents.
Even if you’ve done your homework, hiring patent attorneys to perform a worldwide search for apps that are comparable to yours or have similar features or flows is always a good idea to avoid unintentional infringement from other firms.
After all, it’s preferable to invest a few dollars and ensure that your patent has the best chance of being approved than to start over from the beginning. The USPTO website is a good place to start your study.
4. Apply for a patent, either provisionally provisional or non-provisional.
You may utilize provisional or non-provisional patent applications to file a patent application for your mobile app.
One of the most popular types of app patent applications is the provisional application. You will be able to file a provisional application without a formal patent declaration, claim, or even information disclosure statement. Here are some of the advantages of this application type:
- It gives you a year to create the MVP.
- Allows the word “patent pending” to be used in the app.
- When compared to non-provisional applications, provisional applications are less expensive to produce.
Non-provisional Application: It can be filed without making any claims on an application filed in the convention nation or without referencing an application that is already being processed in the office. It is required that it be supported with a comprehensive claim as well as specifications.
It should include a written description of the invention as well as a claim that describes the invention legally.
In order to select one, you must first ask two questions —
- How soon do you want your patent to be approved?
- How long do you want to postpone the expense of the patent examination?
Non-provisional is the ideal option if your needs point to the first question. If this is not the case, then a provisional patent application, as opposed to a non-provisional patent application, should be filed.
5. Fill up and submit your application
This is the last stage in the process of patenting a concept. You must file a patent application with the USPTO once you have completed all of the above procedures and have produced a patent application. Despite the fact that this is a time-consuming process with a lot of paperwork, you must complete it. The following are some of the key papers you may need during the process:
- 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
Let’s move on to the prerequisites for patent an app idea now that we’ve covered the procedures to patent an app idea.
The Alternatives to App Patents
The discussion over whether to use copyright or a patent has been going on for a long time. Copyright, like patents, is a form of IPR, although it’s a bit different. It is a set of rights granted to the creator or author of any work, including literary, artistic, educational, musical, or computer programmes, allowing them to publish or reproduce their work, as well as develop derivatives, irrespective of whether it is published or unpublished.
It safeguards the presentation of ideas rather than the ideas themselves. As a result, in our situation, you may only copyright your app logo, not the programme itself, because it does not protect facts, concepts, systems, or operating techniques.
2. Register a trademark
Patents restrict others from producing or selling the protected innovation, but a trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, logos, or other devices that are used to identify the originator’s products or services from being used by rivals.
As a result, a trademark may be filed for your application’s logo to prevent competitors from duplicating it and confusing consumers.
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3. Non-Disclosure Agreement (Non-Disclosure Agreements)
The NDA is a contract signed by all parties involved in your project, usually between you and your mobile app development firm. It legally obligates them to keep your app concept and technical details private. As a result, the concept is protected from being exploited by others.
Last but not least
To summarise, mobile apps can be patented (not just an idea, there should be tangible proof of the project). It also relies on your requirements (as stated earlier in the article) as to whether or not you should consider patent an app idea.