An app patent is an intellectual right to safeguard your app idea from illegal usage. You need to file a patent for your mobile app idea, to save your hard work, the uniqueness of your method or idea, and your future profits. After you are sure about the novelty and uniqueness of your idea, you can go for patenting. Let’s see the guide that tells about how to patent your app idea, why to patent an app idea, etc.
What is the need to patent a mobile app idea?
It is necessary to apply to patent an app idea if it is a unique or novel idea. So, it needs to use laws to protect your unique idea. You can get sufficient compensation when any other party uses or copy your idea and tries to break the patent laws, by having an official patent of your idea. Here are some reasons why it is important to patent your idea:
- It assists to protect the idea from being financially utilized by unauthorized people.
- It enables the patent holder to take legal action against the people who try to make or release the clone app.
- It acts as evidence of your idea’s uniqueness and novelty and saves you from all types of legal complexities.
Eligibility for patenting a mobile app idea:
It is necessary to check whether the app is eligible for patenting or not. To solve the problems of users worldwide, if any app idea is launched, it cannot be called eligible for patenting. As such ideas shouldn’t be published in articles, books, etc, there are some critical points or eligibility criteria that need to be considered. Let’s see how to check the eligibility of a mobile app for patent:
Before the final application for filing a patent, there must be a patent search test as per the patent and trademark office of a specific country. It checks if it relates to any other existing patent or if your patent violates some other patent or falls under the category of the beach. The mobile app for patenting should be different from all the preceding inventions that have taken place. It must consist of one basic factor for differentiation. The patent must be novel and should solve any user’s problem, as per WIPO(World Intellectual Property Organization).
The app idea that should be useful is the second main factor. It means that developing an app only for entertainment is not acceptable. Rather, the app should work in theory at least. When you file an app idea for patenting, the app idea must not fall under the category of clone.
Before patenting an app idea, one of the toughest points to fulfill is that the idea should be non-obvious. As per laws and rights, it is needed that the app idea should be non-obvious to an experienced person in the same field because they have the authority to categorize the patent into unexpected development.
How to check if the mobile app idea is patented or not?
It is important to check if there is any similar app idea existing or not, before patenting an app or learning about how to patent an app. It is necessary to execute research about the pending patent app ideas. A complete database that contains all the information about the app ideas filed for patenting. You can check about the app ideas that are already filed for international patents through the IPC (International Patent Classification Catchword Index) of WIPO.
What are the different types of Patent applications?
Based on the market size, the novelty of the idea, and the solution space, there are two types of patents.
Provisional Patent Application:
It is one of the most popular app types that is referred for mobile app ideas. There is no need for formal duties like declaration, data declaration statement, or formal application in the provisional patent application. The provisional patent application is used, when a mobile app development company begins with an app idea patenting process.
- The provisional patent application offers 12 months to develop, redefine, and modify the idea for the mobile app, for MVP(Minimum Viable Product) development for an app.
- It permits you to declare the app idea officially as “patent pending”.
- To get an international patent, one can file the patent application by claiming it in 12 months.
- One has to carry some expenses in this application type, as compared to the non-provisional application.
Non-Provisional Patent Application:
It is different and the mobile app idea can be filed without any claim about any similar work or any app that is already there in the procedure. A detailed description that contains the idea’s legality, total claim, and specifications is there. It is more expensive than the provisional patent application.
Now, it is depending on the decision on how to patent a mobile app. You can choose a provisional application if you want a budget-friendly and quick customer. If your budget is high, then choose the non-provisional patent application.
Documents needed for patenting a mobile app:
There is a lot of paperwork needed for patenting a mobile app idea. While filing a patent for a mobile app, some documents are needed that are given below:
- Declaration or Oath
- Fee sheet
- Cover sheet
- ADS(Application Data Sheet)
- Application to make special(optional)
- Information Disclosure Statement
- Entity Status Form
- Patent Cooperation Treaty(For international Filings)(optional)
Steps needed to patent a mobile app:
When you hire a mobile app development company, they can easily help you in the process of patenting.
Step 1: Hire a Patent Attorney
It is important to hire a patent attorney first for getting a high-end patent and to raise the chances of choosing your app idea for patenting. Because they have adequate experience in this field. As it is a legal process completely, some actions are required to be taken during patenting. While filing a patent for your idea, hiring a professional is a good decision. One should hire an experienced and reputed law firm that has an attorney specialized in software patenting, obvious things should be referred such as the legit nature of the law firm, instead of hiring an agent.
Step 2: Disclosure
As it is only half’s work, having a unique and creative mobile app idea is not enough, but still, the other half is left for completion. To disclose the novel idea of your mobile app, after you hire an experienced patent attorney. It is required to pass aspects such as realism, feasibility, and other eligibility criteria, to get approval from the court for your patent. For providing evidence of the invention to the court, it is necessary to document the entire process. It is important to understand that to patent the mobile app idea’s functionality is the most important aspect. To make the patent attorney easily understand all the features and functionality in detail, you can also create a flowchart.
Step 3: Patent Search
You have done sufficient research for the app idea. It is time to perform in-depth patent research by the hired patent attorney. So that, some issues can be removed and there is fast approval of the patent field. While executing the patent search such as researching the patent search process and making sure the fulfillment of the goals, on-point disclosure, features finalization, and patent classification, there are a few steps that one should perform.
Step 4: Application Filing
The application can be filed in provisional or non-provisional type. It is all depending on the market size and the uniqueness of the app idea. If you need prior patenting, choose provisional patent applications that are beneficial, as they are faster than non-provisional ones. While filing a patent application, it is necessary to refer to a detailed description. The following requires to be done, in the filing of the application:
- Specification: It contains the novelty of the app, title, background, and a summary consisting of the overview of the application.
- Claims: It has all the aspects of the idea. Any third-party property cannot be used to make the claim.
- Drawings: If there are any visual interfaces, it is needed to give carrying drawings. The visual representation will be included in flowcharts, figures, and drawings to remove all sorts of issues and confusion.
Step 5: Submission
After all the steps are performed correctly, one can apply for a patent. The whole process is so lengthy and also restless as there is a lot of paperwork.
Alternative of patenting
There are many other ways for people to protect their idea from copying and unauthorized use. Let’s see other alternatives:
As copyright falls under the IPRs(Intellectual Property Rights), it is similar to a patent. A legal difference between the two is there. The rights are given to the inventor of the specific work like computer programs, artistic work, etc in copyright. It permits them to reproduce or publicize the work. And it assists to protect the expression of ideas too like one can protect the logo through copyright instead of patenting the app. It doesn’t contain methods, systems, or facts.
One restricts unauthorized making and selling of the invention with the help of a patent. Whereas the trademark assists to protect symbols, phrases, logos, devices, and words that help in the identification of the services and products of the inventor. It resists other people from using the patented work. So, If one can apply for a trademark like the logo of the app, there are cloning issues that confuse the users doesn’t take place.
With whom you have worked, NDA is the document that is signed by the parties. Such agreements are made between the app development company and the app inventor or owner so that the company that provides the mobile app development services holds all the technicalities related to the app idea highly confidential. So, it protects your idea from outsiders.
Why all app owners can’t Patent their idea?
Patenting is significant, but it doesn’t state that each app can be patented. When patenting a mobile app idea, the following are some issues that take place,
The patents have some blocking effects that are on the business resources like there is a large cost of filing a patent which is for a period of 3 to 5 years approximately. At the initial stage, if such expense is there, then it can financially affect the business. Also, there is more time consumed in the patent process. And that specific period needs more time from the owner’s end. Thus, it can delay the smooth working of other operations because of a lack of time availability.
No protection Assurance:
There are more agreements and rights but at one point, as there are many strict patent violation instances that can take place, they may not safeguard your idea.
Change in ideas:
There is a need for making updates to the original ideas, because of the changing demands of the user and the dynamic nature of the business. But if the owner forgot to make updates or changes, it is necessary to refile the patent application with each new update for the invention owner. So, it is hard to patent their ideas for all the app owners.
Cost for patenting an app idea:
Businesses need to spend the cost of developing an app, hiring expert mobile app developers, the mobile app testing process, etc. Parallelly, there is cost related to the patenting of a mobile app. The patent cost is depending on the patent application type.
As you have understood all about patenting, it is time for you to decide if to patent or not. The process of patenting is very complex similar to mobile app development. But it saves your work, effort, and profit from the app cloning. To save your idea and protect your intellectual property, you can patent your ideas compulsorily.
It is crucial to convert your unique ideas into reality, so for this, hire mobile app development company like Smarther. We are a leading mobile app development company that assist you to enter the market with responsive, scalability, and user-friendly mobile app for obtaining huge growth and profits.