How to Patent an App Idea
It is possible to patent a mobile application idea because it is one component with different methods of interaction. The code of the app can‘t be patent as the code itself comes under the category of law covered by copyrights.
1. It Must Be an Invention
Patents are utilized for safeguarding inventions. As per WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), they are provided to the invention that is explained as a solution to every issue.
Since the mobile app idea is not a physical thing, the app process is categorized as an invention. Nevertheless, the procedure should fix every issue simply like any invention.
2. Your App Idea Should Be Unique and New
Even if your mobile app idea fixes users’ issues, it doesn’t mean it qualifies for the patent. Your application idea should be original and new.
It should not have been launched earlier publicly, incorporating YouTube videos, books, articles, pending patent apps, and other sources. It should be unique and must not exist already else you cannot patent it.
3. It Should Be Qualified As Useful
Being qualified as a useful app does not imply that your application idea cannot be under the entertainment category or something else like that. Your app just needs to perform at least in theory. This restriction stops people from patenting these apps that are not useful.
Hence, you must produce a detailed and concrete description like how your app performs for claiming it as your asset.
How to Check Whether Your App Idea Has Already Been Patented or Not
You need to check if a possibly unique mobile app idea features already patent by another party. For this reason, a detailed study is needed on every associated app idea that is either pending or marketed. Your state or country will have an operational database where this data is preserved and accessed.
1. Discover and Register with a Patent Lawyer
To present a precisely made top-notch patent a
and maximize the scopes of your patent application getting chosen, you need to consult with and employ a patent lawyer who deals with software patenting. He/she must be experienced in this.
As it’s a legal procedure, it might incorporate litigation. So, don’t try to do it by yourself and just employ a professional. You are not recommended to select the first attorney you find. Make a detailed study and seek the best that fits your budget.
2. Disclose Your Mobile App Invention
Having an app idea does not mean that your work is done. You have to bring the idea into reality to confirm its convenience and this is one of its eligibility criteria to get patented. As the court asks for proper proofs of your invention before issuing a patent against your app, you need to ensure to document the entire app development process.
Furthermore, you can make a prototype of your mobile app to test its flow. This will help your lawyer to assess your app’s flowchart as it’s not the code but the app procedures and functionalities that get patented. It can amazingly analyze different operations of your app in various industries and provides you a new direction for thinking of what other components in your app are qualified to get patented.
3. Exercise Patent Search
Maybe you have studied well, but you are still recommended to employ a patent lawyer who conducts a global search for apps similar to yours or have the same flows or functionalities.
This way you can abstain from any un-predicted breach from other organizations. Spending some money and ensuring your patent has the maximum scope of getting approved are better.
4. File a Provisional or Non-Provisional Patent Application
Provisional and Non-Provisional Patent Applications are two types that you can utilize as a patent application for your mobile app.
Under provisional application, you can file without a formal patent claim, declaration, or even data disclosure statement. This application type provides some perks:
- Allows you to use of the term ‘Patent Pending’ on an app.
- It considers 12 months for creating the MVP.
- It is less costly to prepare in comparison with non-provisional applications.
Under non-provisional applications, you can file without any claim created on the application made in the convention nation or with no app reference that is present in the procedure. It should be accompanied by a total claim and specifications. It must have the invention’s written description and a claim that defines the invention legally.
To select between provisional and non-provisional application, you must consider:
- How long you want to delay patent text expenses.
- How quickly you want your patent approved.
If your need is related to the aforesaid second point, non-provisional is the best option for you. If the first one is your requirement, just go for a provisional application.
5. Submit Your Patent Application
This is the final step of patenting a mobile app idea. After performing the aforesaid steps successfully and preparing a patent application, you need to file it with the USPTO.
Although it’s a tedious procedure that demands lots of paperwork, you should explore it. Some vital documents that you may need during this procedure include:
- Declaration or Oath
- Data Disclosure Statement
- Entity Status Form
- Application Data Sheet
- Patent Cooperation Treaty (Optional and for International Filings)
- Cover Sheet
- Fee Sheet
- Application to Make Special (Optional)