Are you ready with an exceptional mobile app idea and simultaneously a little bit afraid if somebody may steal it and apply it before you could know? If yes, then there’s no need to fret anymore.
You can patent your mobile app idea or copyright or trademark it. This way, you can protect your app idea from getting stolen. Many startup owners and entrepreneurs have already patented their mobile app ideas to prevent others from copying your app idea.
Besides, you should be sure that your app idea is exclusive and new, else your hard work will just go to waste if it is similar to another app.
Today, we are here with a complete guide about how to patent an idea for an app? that will include every important detail essential.
Patenting A Mobile App Idea – What Does It Means
A patent is an intellectual property that safeguards your app ideas from non-consensual or illegal usage. Additionally, it restricts other individuals or companies from selling or changing it by considering you as the rightful owner of your app idea. Besides, patenting your mobile app will ensure that no one ruins your app idea or gets profits claiming credit in the wrong way for your whole app idea.
Why Patent An App Idea?
There are a plethora of reasons why you should patent your app idea. Let’s check out a few:
- Patenting an app idea safeguards your app from unauthorized use.
- Also, it prevents others from selling or changing your app idea.
- Besides, patents validate the visibility and value of a company’s idea.
- You can legally charge all the copies of your introduced mobile application in the lineup.
- No one can ruin your app idea financially.
- A patent proves your app idea is original and unique.
What Are Different Types Of Patent Applications?
|Provisional App||Non-Provisional App|
|Expiration Time||After 12 months (Need to file non-provisional within a given time to make patent rights keep working)||Processed by the patent office only, and if no provisional is filed, it may become a patent.|
|Publish Time||Will be published and become patent only when non-provisional is filed.||Usually, it takes 18 months post-filing and may become a patent within 24-28 months.|
|Cost to File a Patent||Less Expensive||Expensive|
How To Know Your Mobile App Idea Is Patent Eligible?
In general, to determine the eligibility of mobile app patents, consider critical points below:
A Mobile App Idea Should Be New And Unique
If your app idea resolves an issue of the users, it doesn’t state that it’s eligible for the patent. Your app idea must be new. Simply, you should not reveal your app idea that hasn’t been made in a public format via books, articles, or other sources.
It Should Be An “Invention”
Generally, patents are best for protecting inventions. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a patent is like a solution to any issue.
Qualify Your Patent As Useful
At last, you should qualify your patent as useful. It states that your app should perform at least in theory. If your app is not useful as it should be, it’s tough to patent your app.
How To Know Whether Your App Idea Is Patented Or Not?
You should check if any other party already patented your app idea. For that, you would need to review all the associated application ideas that are either marketed or pending. Your country or state will hold an operational database where this data is stored safely and accessed.
Besides, you can also analyze through the International Patent Classification (IPC) Catchword Index of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which holds data relevant to distinct international patents. This way, you will catch up with the practice of patenting an app idea.
When To File For A Patent?
An app idea patent is granted to one who has first filed a patent against it, not to the one who has first invented it. That’s why startups and entrepreneurs choose to file a provisional app before disclosing necessary details publicly.
You may emerge with various patent attorneys who advise you to patent an app idea before discussing or disclosing it with potential investors.
Information & Documents Required To Patent an Idea for a mobile App
Patenting a mobile app idea demands a lot of paperwork. Some important documents that will make the process of patenting seamless are:
- Entity Status Form
- Information Disclosure Statement
- Application Data Sheet (ADS)
- Patent Cooperation Treaty (for International Filings) (Optional)
- Fee Sheet
- Application to Make Special (Optional)
- Cover Sheet
How To Patent A Mobile App Idea – Steps To Follow
Now, we will check out some steps that we should follow to patent a mobile app idea.
Hire & Consult With A Patent Lawyer
To exhibit a well-formed, high-end patent and increase the chances of your patent app getting selected, you should hire and consult a software patent attorney holding good years of experience.
As patenting is a legal process, it may include legal actions. So, you should catch up with a professional despite trying to perform it yourself. So, research well and look for the best and one within budget.
Bring An Idea Into Reality
As the court always demands proof. So, to issue a patent for your app idea, you need to be all set with the documentation of the entire development process. Moreover, you can build a prototype of your app to get the details about its flow.
It will assist your attorney in knowing the flowchart of your app as it’s not the code, instead the processes and functionality of your app that needs patenting.
Conduct A Deep Patent Search
You may assist a patent lawyer who can perform global research for apps similar to your app or have the exact functionalities and flows.
File Any Of The Two Patent Applications (Provisional Or Non-Provisional)
We can use two types of patent apps for our mobile app:
- Non-provisional patent applications
Under the provisional app, we can file with no declaration, formal patent claim, or data disclosure statement. This app type offers some benefits also:
- It permits us to use the term ‘Patent Pending’ on an app.
- It offers twelve months for building the MVP.
- It’s cheaper to prepare as compared to non-provisional apps.
On the contrary, under non-provisional apps, we can file with no claim on the app developed in the conventional nation or without any app reference in the procedure. Moreover, it should come along with a total claim and specifications. It should have a written description of the invention and a claim that may legally define the invention.
To select between provisional and non-provisional applications, you must consider:
- How long do you need to delay the patent text expenses?
- How fast do you need your patent approved?
In case if your need is the first point, you should go with a provisional app.
If your requirement is relevant to the above written second point, then non-provisional is the best choice for you.
File Your Patent App With The USPTO (United States Patent & Trademark Office)
At last, after preparing a patent app, you should file it with the USPTO.
How Much Does It Cost To Patent A Mobile App?
How Much Does It Cost To Patent A Mobile App?
The cost of patenting a mobile app relies on the patent category and the app’s complexity.
Let’s take a walk-through of the cost per type of patent.
Provisional Patent Costing – Lies between $2,000 – $5,000.
Non-provisional Patent Costing: Lies between $10,000 – $15,000.
Additional Legal Fees: $5,000 – $8,000. For advanced ones, the cost estimate starts from $14,000 to $16,000.
Note - After using a provisional patent, you can refine your mobile app to check its success in the market. Remember that the validity of a provisional patent lasts for one year after its grant.
What Are The Alternatives To App Patent?
Let’s check out the alternatives of mobile app patents:
Patents stop others from selling or making your invention. On the contrary, a trademark safeguards phrases, words, logos, symbols, and other devices that assist in identifying the products and services of the originator, prohibiting other brands from using them.
So, you can issue a trademark for your app’s logo to prevent your competitors from cloning it and leaving the users confused.
Similar to patents, copyright is also a sort of IPRs. But, the difference between these two is a legal term that helps describe the rights issued to the author or inventor of any work, like artistic, literary, musical, or educational, or computer programs. Also, it permits them to reproduce the job or publicize them, make derivatives, etc., regardless of whether it’s up or not.
Additionally, it safeguards the expression of ideas and not just the idea. So, we can copyright the app logo and not the app, as it doesn’t cover ideas, facts, methods of operation, or systems.
NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreements)
A document signed by the entities with whom you work is NDA. Generally, it exists between you and your app development company. It binds them legally to keep your app ideas and technicalities confidential. In turn, it safeguards the concept from being utilized by outsiders.
Why Is Patenting App Ideas Not For All App Owners?
Patenting is essential, but not for every app or app owner. Let’s check out some issues that are essential when planning to patent your app idea.
Patents Usually Block Chief Resources
Startups should know the blocking effects that the patents lay on the company and personal resources, which includes:
The cost of filing patents is $30,000 on an average for 3-5 years. If this gets added to the legal price, it may ruin the startups financially.
The patenting process takes a lot of time, usually ranging from months to even years. This bandwidth allocation demands considerable time and effort apart from app idea execution.
No Surety Of Protection
The patent violation instances are particular, which means the most severe agreement may fail to protect you from breaching.
Companies Change Their Original Ideas To Perfection
Startups usually change their ideas and objectives. The issue arises because the patents tend to safeguard the starting inventions and not the iterations post that. It states that startups need to refile for the patents repeatedly when they change or update their app.
Also Read: Important Mobile App Testing Types For App Development.
Patenting an app idea demands a lot of effort and, of course, time. After deciding to take your app idea to the conversion, you should patent your app idea.
You may find the procedure time-consuming, but it’s better than witnessing some clone app stealing your app idea.
If you need help on your way to patenting your app, you can connect with a leading app development company, like Emizentech, to conduct the procedure seamlessly.
Frequently Asked Questions for Mobile App Patents
Well, yes, you can patent your mobile app as it’s just a single component holding distinct ways of interaction. We can’t patent the code as it falls under the category of law, including copyrights.
It’s easy to know if your app idea is patented just by login into the USPTO or Google patents site and searching apt keywords for all the patents filed.
The estimated cost for patenting a mobile app may range between $2,000 to $15,000.
Three chief points qualify your app for patents:
• It should be an invention
• Mobile app ideas should be new and unique
• It should be eligible as exclusive, unique.
Generally, it demands 1-3 years to patent an app idea. It starts with the examination process of the patent app, and further, it breaks down into distinct factors, like claims, specifications, drawings, and abstracts.
If we allow patents to last for longer, then it may become an issue for others who need to improve with the existing technology. That’s why patents expire after 20 years. The current patent law permits inventors to recover their profit and investment from their invention while maintaining pace with innovation.