Do you have a unique and revolutionary mobile app idea? Are you scared of your creative idea getting copied? If your answer is yes to both these questions, then there is no need to get worried anymore. To save your hard work, the uniqueness of your idea, and your future profits, all you need to do is to file a patent for your mobile app idea. Patenting helps protect your idea from unauthorized access and usage. Once you are sure about the uniqueness and novelty of your idea, you can go for patenting.
To meet your queries, earlier we have presented you with a guide on how to build an app, and now this time we have come up with a guide that can help you solve your queries when it comes to patenting your mobile app idea such as how to patent an idea for an app, why patent an app idea, etc. This blog includes all the necessary details required to answer your questions.
Why There is a Need to Patent a Mobile App Idea?
There are several reasons why one should patent a mobile app idea because when there is a novel idea, it is necessary to apply patenting so that it is not used or copied. Therefore, it is essential to make use of laws for protecting your unique idea. By having an official patent of your idea, you can get adequate compensation when any other party uses or copy that idea and attempts to breach the patent laws. Let’s discuss some of the key reasons why it is significant to patent your idea:
- It helps protect the idea from being financially exploited by unauthorized people.
- It allows the patent holder to have legal action against the people who try to release the clone app.
- It acts as proof of your idea’s uniqueness & novelty and thus saves you from all sorts of legal complexities.
For example: In the year 1994, Apple raised an objection against Microsoft for stealing their GUI idea. But later on, the verdict was in the favor of Microsoft as there was no patent registered in the name of Apple for that GUI idea. Therefore, to save oneself from such incidents, there is a need to patent your mobile app idea so that its originality does not compromise.
In the next section, we will learn whether can you patent your mobile app idea or not.
How to Check the Eligibility of a Mobile App Idea for Patenting?
One question might have struck your mind numerous times i.e., Can you get a patent on an app? To answer this question, it is necessary to check whether the app idea is eligible for patenting or not. If any app idea is launched to solve the issues of the users worldwide cannot be called eligible for patenting. There are several critical points or eligibility criteria that need to be considered such as that ideas should not be revealed in articles, books, etc. Let’s discuss how to check the eligibility of a mobile app idea for patenting:
As per the patent and trademark office of a specific country, there must be a patent search test before the final application for filing a patent. It checks whether your patent violates some other patent or falls under the category of infringement if it relates to any other existing patent. The mobile app idea for patenting must be different from all the previous inventions that have taken place. It should comprise one constituent factor for differentiation. Also, as per the WIPO i.e., World Intellectual Property Organization, the patent must be novel and should solve any issues faced by the users.
The second crucial factor is that the app idea should be useful. This means that developing an app merely for entertainment is not acceptable. Rather, the app must work at least in theory. There should be a detailed explanation of how the app will be useful for the masses as well as how it will work. The app idea should not fall under the category of clone when you are about to file for a patent.
One of the toughest aspects to fulfill before patenting an app idea is that the idea should be non-obvious. It is required that as per the laws and rights, 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 Whether the Mobile App Idea is Patented or Not?
While thinking of patenting a mobile app idea and learning about how to patent an app idea, firstly you need to check whether there exists a similar app idea or not. And to accomplish this, it is necessary to perform adequate research about the app ideas that are pending patents. There is a complete database that holds all the information about the app ideas filed for patenting. Also, through the World Intellectual Property Organization’s IPC i.e., International Patent Classification Catchword Index, you can check about the mobile app ideas that are there are already filed for international patents.
For example, if the patent filing is from the USA, then one needs to check the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The operational database of the country is searched to know in detail about the existing idea that is pending patent. So that, you can add a point of differentiation in your app to register for a patent. Thus, in this manner, one can check whether your app idea is already patented or not.
What are Different Types of Patent Applications?
In the process of how to patent an app idea, firstly you need to check the types of patent applications. Based on the market size, the novelty of the idea, and the solution space, primarily there are 2 types of patent apps i.e., non-provisional and provisional patent apps. Let’s understand these two:
1. Provisional Patent Application
It is one of the popular app types that is considered for mobile app ideas. There is no need for formal obligations like declaration, data declaration statement, or formal application in the provisional patent application. When a mobile app development company starts with an app idea patenting process, the provisional patent application is used. Following are some of its benefits:
- For (Minimum Viable Product) MVP development for an app, the provisional patent application grants twelve months to develop, refine, and modify the idea for the mobile app.
- It allows you to declare the app idea as “patent pending” officially.
- One can file the patent application to get the international patent by claiming it in 12 months.
- As compared to the non-provisional application, one has to bear fewer expenses in this application type.
2. Non-Provisional Patent Application
They are different and the mobile app idea can be filed without any claim about any resembling work or any app which is already there in the procedure. There is a detailed description that includes the idea’s legality, total claim, and specifications. It is comparatively more costly than the provisional application.
Now, it depends upon the decision on how to patent a mobile app, if you want budget-friendly and rapid outcomes, you can go for a provisional application and if you have a budget on the higher side, you can opt for a non-provisional patent application.
Read Also: How To Build An API: A Complete Guide
Documents Required for Patenting a Mobile App Idea
When you check how to patent an application, you will come to know that there is a lot of paperwork that is required to patent a mobile app idea. Following is the list containing all the documents that are needed to prepare along with the patent attorney while filing a patent for a mobile app idea:
- Declaration or Oath
- Fee Sheet
- Cover Sheet
- ADS i.e., Application Data Sheet
- Application to Make Special (Optional)
- Information Disclosure Statement
- Entity Status Form
- Patent Cooperation Treaty (for International Filings) (Optional)
Essential Steps to Follow for Mobile App Patenting
It is the most vital thing that we will be discussing while understanding how to patent your mobile app idea. It is mandatory to discover the necessary steps that are required for patenting an app idea. When you hire a mobile app development company, they can easily assist you in the entire patenting process. This section will help you to understand all the steps required for a mobile app patenting:
Step 1: Hire a Patent Attorney
For attaining a high-end patent and to upsurge the chances of the selection of your app idea for patenting, it is necessary to first hire a patent attorney who possesses enough experience in this field. Several legal actions needed to be taken during patenting as it is a completely legal process. Thus, hiring a professional is the best decision while filing a patent for your idea. Certain things must be considered such as the legit nature of the law firm, instead of hiring an agent, one must hire an experienced and reputed law firm that has attorneys specialized in software patenting.
Step 2: Disclosure
To have a unique and creative mobile app idea is not enough as it is only half work, but still, the other half is left for completion. Once you hire an experienced patent attorney, the next thing is to disclose the novel idea of your mobile app. For getting ap approval from the court for your patent, it is required to pass aspects like realism, feasibility, and other eligibility criteria. It is necessary to document the entire process to provide proof of the invention to the court. It is important to understand that the most significant aspect is to patent the mobile app idea’s functionality. You can also create a flowchart to help make the patent attorney easily understand all the features and functionality in detail.
Step 3: Patent Search
You have indeed done adequate research for the app idea but the next important step that needs to be taken after the disclosure of the app idea and getting a patent attorney is the time o perform in-depth patent research by the hired patent attorney so that several issues can be eliminated and there is quick approval of the patent filed. There are certain steps that one must perform while performing a patent search such as conducting research about the patent search process and ensuring the fulfillment of the goals, on-point disclosure, features finalization, and patent classification.
Step 4: Application Filing
The next step is to apply. The application can be filed either in provisional or non-provisional type. All this depends upon the market size and uniqueness of the app idea. In case you need a prior patenting then provisional patent applications will be beneficial for you as they will be comparatively quicker than a non-provisional one. It is essential to mention a detailed description while filing the patent application. In the filing of an application, the following needs to be done:
- Specification: It includes the novelty of the app idea, background, title, and a summary comprising the overview of the application.
- Claims: It includes all the aspects of the idea. The claim cannot be made of anything that belongs to a third party.
- Drawings: If there are any visual interfaces then it is required to give supporting drawings. The visual representations will be added to flowcharts, figures, and drawings to eliminate all sorts of confusion and issues.
Step 5: Submission
This is the most crucial step in the mobile app idea patenting as you need to apply. Once all the other steps are done correctly, one can apply for a patent. The entire process is much lengthy and also hectic as there is a lot of paperwork.
Read Also: A Complete Guide to Mobile App Testing
Alternative of Patenting
Other than patents, there are many other ways by which people can protect their idea from copying and unauthorized use. Let’s check the alternatives to the patent:
Copyright is also similar to patent as it falls under the IPRs i.e., Intellectual Property Rights. There exists a legal difference between the two. In copyright, the rights are issued to the inventor of some particular work such as the computer programs, artistic work, etc. It also allows them to reproduce or publicize the work. As well as it helps to protect the expression of ideas too such as one can protect the logo through copyright instead of patenting the app. It does not include methods, systems, or facts.
With the help of a patent, one restricts unauthorized making and selling of the invention. Whereas the trademark helps to protect the symbols, phrases, logos, devices, and words that help in the identification of the services and products of the inventor. It prohibits other people from using the patented work. Therefore, one can apply for a trademark such as for the logo of the app so that there does not take place cloning issues that confuse the users.
Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA)
NDA is a document that is signed by the parties with whom you have worked. Such agreements are created between the app development company and the invention owner so that the company that provides the mobile app development services keeps all the technicalities related to the app idea highly confidential. Thus, it protects your idea from being used by outsiders.
Why all App Owners Cannot Patent their idea?
You might have been thinking that can you patent an app idea or not. Patenting is significant and it holds much importance, but this does not state that every app can be patented. Following are certain issues that take place when it comes to mobile app idea patenting:
The patents have several blocking effects that are there on the resources of the businesses such as there is a huge cost of filing a patent which is there for a period of approximately 3 to 5 years. If such an expense is there at the initial stage, then it can financially hurt the business. Also, there is a lot more time that is consumed in the process of patenting. And that particular period requires huge considerable time from the owner’s end. Thus, it can hamper the smooth working of other operations because of a lack of time availability.
No Protection Assurance
There are so many agreements and rights but still, at one point, they may fail to safeguard your idea as there are many severe patent violation instances that can take place.
Change in Ideas
Because of the dynamic nature of the business and the changing demands of the users, there is a need for making updates to the original idea. But the owners forget to patent these updates and changes and therefore it made it necessary for the invention owners to refile the patent application with every new update. Thus, it becomes difficult for all the app owners to patent their ideas.
How Much does it Cost to Patent an Idea?
There are certain costs businesses need to bear may it be the cost to develop an app, the cost of hiring expert mobile app developers, mobile app testing process, etc. Similarly, there is a cost associated with the patenting of a mobile app idea. The patent cost depends upon the category under which the patent application falls.
As the cost of the provisional patents ranges from $2500 to $5000. Once the owner has used the provisional application, then one can check how the users are responding to it. But focusing on all legal channels increases the cost of patenting and it approximately ranges between $12000 to $15000 including the legal charges.
Now you have gained enough knowledge about how to patent an app, it is your decision whether you go for patenting or not. Similar to the mobile app development process, the process of app idea patenting is also very complex. But it can save you from the losses you might face due to app cloning. To help save your idea and protect your intellectual property, one can surely patent their ideas and work.
It is also important to convert your unique app idea into reality and for this, it is essential to hire a good mobile app development company. SemiDot Infotech is a leading web and mobile app development company that can help you to enter the market with a scalable, responsive, and user-friendly mobile app for attaining huge growth and profits.
Happy Inventing Creative Minds!