So there you have it: all you need to know about patenting an app idea.
What is the difference between a patent for a mobile app and a patent for a computer programme?
You may have come across the phrase “patent” in your daily life. Even yet, only a small percentage of the population is aware of its full importance. A patent is a legal privilege granted to anybody who invents anything, including mobile app development, to protect it from anyone who wants to copy, sell, or steal it by giving them entire control over its protection.
A utility patent is the most common kind of patent. Processes and equipment are given to them by statute. Design patents are used to protect any kind of unique design on a wide range of manufactured items.
Why Should Your Mobile App Idea Be Patented?
If you have a unique mobile app idea, you should patent it since it is possible that it will be stolen or that someone else will have it before. Another thing to think about is that if you have a formal patent, you may be able to use laws to pay anybody who uses your idea. You might conduct some extensive study on patent applications to see if there are any other options.
To safeguard your idea from being financially exploited by unauthorised parties, you may take legal action against anybody who distributes a clone of your programme before or after you launch it. There is no use in getting into legal wranglings unless you have a patent to prove your notion.
What features of your mobile app can you patent?
I am sure you are still bewildered by the patent mobile app problem. Let us begin by identifying the aspects of your mobile app that you may be able to patent. Yes, you do not have to patent the whole piece of software. Some of your app’s features may even be patentable. These are some of them:
- Mechanisms for data privacy protection
- Transactions, mobile payments from third parties, server engagement, and so on.
- Networking’s many characteristics
- User administration includes authentication, security, and identity management, among other things.
- Data pushes, data storage, and database management
- Mobile phones and the server’s interaction
- Processing of interactions on the server and on mobile
- Material is presented to users.
Patent Rights for Mobile Apps
Depending on the jurisdiction, mobile apps and software have different patent rights. You will need to check into the intricacies of how to patent an app idea in each country to protect your concept.
Check to see whether your idea for an app has previously been patented
You will never be persuaded that your app idea is really unique and innovative until you can back it up with proof. Millions of entrepreneurs and fans are working tirelessly to develop novel app ideas. There is a strong chance they have already registered the app idea you are thinking of right now.
Check to verify whether your app idea has previously been patented to eliminate any uncertainties. Check to see whether your mobile app concept has any current or pending patents. You must do a thorough investigation for this; else, you risk being deceived and facing legal action against yourself.
They will have a functional database with a complete list of all patents that have been awarded or are pending, regardless of which country you reside in. There is a good chance you may find inspiration for your app idea there.
Requirements for a Patent Applicant
Patenting your mobile app concept is not something that can be done for every mobile app development or any random idea. You must fulfil specific criteria to be eligible for a patent for your mobile application. Each country, whether the United States, the United Kingdom, or another, has its own set of regulations that must be followed to the letter.
To patent your mobile app idea, you must meet three essential requirements. Let us look at them more closely.
1. Make your mobile app a piece of beauty.
2. Your mobile app should be useful and informative.
3. Your app’s idea should be unique and innovative.
Patent Applications of Various Types
There are two types of patent applications: utility patents and design patents. Depending on your concept’s originality, the market’s size, and the app’s solution space.
These applications must be supported by a detailed specification, a complete claim, and a written inventor’s description demonstrating the validity of the invention. The cost of this application is somewhat more than the cost of a provisional application.
How do you go about patenting an app idea?
Now is the time to learn how to patent a mobile app if you are new to the sector. The steps are quite simple if you are already familiar with the concept of patenting a mobile app, its qualifications, and all the restrictions that come with it.
The mobile app development company you chose to design your app will most likely assist you through the whole patenting process.
Here is a step by-step through the whole process of designing your mobile app idea. Let us get this party started,
1. Locate and register with a patent attorney.
After you have acquired full ownership and inventorship of your mobile app idea and analysed all existing similar mobile apps on the market, it is critical to choose a competent patent attorney. This is a crucial step, and you should not choose the first lawyer that approaches you or appears in a Google search.
This strategy needs a comprehensive search and selection of a patent attorney who can guide you smoothly through the legal procedure. Because you are unfamiliar with all of the legal language, processes, and laws, this is the only explanation. As a consequence, in order for the procedure to go effectively, the patent attorney you choose must be competent and adaptable.
2. The Development of a Mobile App
The first half of the task was developing a breakthrough mobile app idea; the second half is yet to begin. It is now time to unveil your mobile app concept, which is crucial after engaging a skilled patent attorney.
You must show that your patent is practical, reasonable, and fits all of the qualifying standards if you want the court to issue it. You must document the whole development process, including flow charts, or even create a prototype if your notion demands it, in order to offer actual proof of your invention to the court.
It is also worth remembering that the development code or technique is not necessary. What gets patented is the functionality that your mobile app idea delivers.
If you design a detailed flowchart of your mobile app idea, the patent attorney will be grateful. You may provide him with a detailed flowchart to assist him to understand the functionality and capabilities. The whole functional flow of data, actions, and information must be shown in this flowchart.
3. Use a patent search engine to find out what patents are available.
Even if you have done all of your research for similar mobile apps and patents, an attorney’s job is professional and necessary. Following your engagement with a patent attorney and disclosure of your mobile app proposal, the next stage is to conduct a comprehensive patent search.
During the patent search, your attorney searches the world for applications with similar functionality or methods to avoid any future problems from anybody or any organisation. This patent search might assist you in obtaining your patent as quickly as feasible.
You may also help your attorney by giving him or her the research list you compiled. All apps with even a single equivalent feature should be included. Some of the phases involved in doing a patent search are as follows:
To begin, understand all you can about the patent search process, including the dos and don’ts, so that you can achieve your goal.
Make sure your patent attorney is up to date on your invention in order to do a comprehensive patent search. As a consequence, double-check the accuracy of your invention disclosure.
Determine a few key aspects of your concept to seek in other apps to fill in the gaps.
Begin by doing a broad search using as many criteria, phrases, keywords, and other elements as feasible. Use several languages, patent search engines, and other resources to do a thorough search.
After you have agreed on a classification, do a systematic search utilising a patent categorization to see what information you can find.
You may start with a Google Patent Search, but you should also do non-Google searches to get the best results.
4. The application for a patent
Whether a provisional or non-provisional patent application is submitted depends on the kind of invention, market size, solution area, and other variables. There are a number of other things to consider when deciding whether to submit a provisional or non-provisional application.
Assume that your primary goal is to reduce time to market. You should submit a non-provisional patent application in this situation since it takes the interested authorities less time to grant it.
Let us look at how both types of applications are submitted.
By filing a provisional application, you may assure a patent filing date. Furthermore, filing a temporary application is less costly and time-consuming. The following things must be given:
1. a thorough description
These are used to emphasise the uniqueness of your mobile app idea. Make sure your criteria are specific enough for everyone to understand the uniqueness of your application. The requirements consist of a short and proper title, a Background that gives context for your invention and supporting concepts, a summary that provides an overview of your application, and a thorough Description.
This is the most difficult part of the technique, and it must be completed properly. You must make it clear which parts of your mobile app idea you claim legal ownership of. You are not allowed to claim something that is already owned by someone else, even if just a fraction of it is.
3. Use of illustrations
If your application has any visual interfaces, you should provide drawings with it. Look for any similar patents that have been filed previously if you have any issues about adding drawings or figures. You should include visual representation in the form of drawings, figures, or flowcharts to support the app idea and avoid any misunderstanding.
5. Send in your novel procedure
Now comes the most crucial part of the whole process. The submission of your patent application is the last and most significant step in the patent application process. When you have completed all of the previous processes correctly, you must now apply.
To give you a heads up, this approach is completely paper-based and takes a long time to complete. However, you do not have an option but to perform it entirely concentrated. Here’s a list of all the papers you will need to prepare with your patent attorney for the filing process before you submit your application.
4. How Much Does an App Idea Patent Cost?
The cost of an app patent is determined by a variety of elements, such as the kind of invention, patent category, and so on. A provisional patent application may cost anywhere from $2000 to $5000 if you only require a number, whereas a non-provisional application might cost anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000. You may discover more about all of the fees, even the smallest ones, by visiting the USPTO.
5. How Long Does It Take to Get a Mobile App Patent?
After looking through all of the processes in detail and evaluating the cost, you may be asking how long it will take for the application to be approved. To tell you the truth, it takes a long, long time.
The time it takes to patent a mobile app depends on how many modifications and rejections there are. Facebook, for example, was given a patent after six years. Yes, it took Mark Zuckerberg six years to get a patent on the social media juggernaut.
As a consequence, you should expect it to take 4-6 years to secure a patent for your mobile app idea. That, too, is contingent on the number of times your application is refused or resubmitted. Fill out an application, make sure everything is correct, and cross your fingers that it will be approved.
Patents are not suitable for all people.
If you are thinking of patenting every idea or application that comes to mind, you should think again since it is not feasible.
Let us have a look at some methods for securing your mobile app idea.
When you engage someone or outsource work to third-party companies or even freelancers, make sure they sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) (Non-Disclosure Agreement). By doing so, you can ensure that no data or even the smallest piece of information is leaked or shared with anybody outside the company. They risk being sued for breach of contract if they do so. An NDA binds your employees, or even a mobile app development company you have hired, to keep technical information confidential.
The notion of copyright is tough to understand. To begin, keep in mind that copyright only protects the representation of an idea, not the concept itself. A bundle of rights provided to any author or inventor in order to protect their work is known as a copyright. Literature, art, or education might all be used to make this endeavour. In our case, you may be able to get a copyright to protect your program’s code and user interface design. However, there is a catch: you can only use it if your app is closed by someone else. For example, you may just copyright your app’s design or logo, not the whole programme.
Trademarks are used to protect a company’s identity or image. Your company’s logo, ads, and other goods may all be trademarked. In layman’s terms, a trademark prevents others from using your brand’s name, slogans, logo, or anything else that may be used to identify it. In our case, you may trademark the logo, designs, titles, advertisements, catalogues, and other parts of your mobile app to prevent competitors from copying them. Unlike a patent, which prevents others from producing or selling your goods, a trademark just protects your company’s image.
Non-Competition Agreement (Non-Competition Agreement) (Non-Competition Agreement)
This one is solely for your employees, and it is ideal for securing a mobile app concept in our situation. You may require your developers to sign a non-compete agreement prohibiting them from working for your competitors while they are employed by you and for a period of time after their employment ends. This may ensure that none of your company’s confidential information is shared with competitors as promptly as possible, and if the agreement is breached, the guilty employee will face legal consequences.