Amazon was once an idea and today it is a million-dollar business, Facebook was an idea to connect friends, and now it’s a global app connecting everyone.
In short, an mobile app idea can either be a lesson or an innovation for the welfare of society. When it comes to the mobile app development world, having an app idea is like the beginning of great help to the users and also to the businesses.
Thinking about an app idea takes a lot of time and sometimes years to come up with the final beginning. however, the efforts you have made and the time you invested in the app idea can be used by someone else. Yes, the moment you give its hint to the people around you, the chances of the app idea being stolen simply becomes high.
Thus, having an app idea is not sufficient, you are also required to safeguard it from all the people, competitors around you to give a digital shape to it. For the process of safeguarding the app, there comes a solution called- Mobile app patent.
A mobile app patent is like sealing your app idea that the government approved. Using it, you will be safeguarding your app idea with the best of your knowledge without the theft of getting it stolen by any other third party or your competitor.
There is a deeper meaning to the how to patent an app idea, mobile app patent example and the process behind it and so on. Let’s understand them in depth.
What Is A Mobile App Idea Patent ?
A mobile app Patent in a simple language is a right granted to the inventor from the government permitting the inventor to sue others if they make, sell, copy, use the invention. The patenting process is designed to encourage inventions that are seriously unique, useful, and transforming for the society.
However, patents are of different kinds. The one which we explained above belongs to any idea, software, machine, or the creation of newness whereas patenting the mind idea also got a specified name.
They are called intellectual property rights defined as creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names, and images used in commerce according to the World Intellectual Property Organization.
Types Of Mobile app Patents
The provisional mobile application patent is basically a legal document used by the patent applicants for securing an early effective filing date in a later-filed patent application. Provisional applications involve everything, a complete description of the app, visuals, paper drawing, etc. A leading mobile app development company always looks for provisional app patents for safeguarding app ideas.
Here are a few pros of provisional application-
- It is economical
- It helps in securing filing date
- It greatly offers a year’s time to complete the overall app working and its specifications.
- It makes one use a term like “patent pending” on the product.
- It got some limited formal requirements along with securing foreign priority too.
Non- Provisional Application
Another type of mobile app patent is a non-provisional application. It is referred to as the very first step towards the legally recognized patent.
You can opt for a nonprovisional application once you are done with the app designing and development along with other features into the application. This part of the application includes print, images, and the final product.
Here are a few mobile app patent aspects you should definitely consider before getting started with anything.
What Are The Aspects Of Mobile App Idea Patents?
- Data pushing
- Messaging services
- Combination of mobile & server processing
- Database creation
- Outputting to a smartphone
- Server processing
- Mobile interface processing
- Interaction with the server
- Third-party mobile transaction
- Security and authentication tasks
- Presenting information
- Reporting feedback
- Third-party server involvement
- Interaction between devices
- Data privacy
- User identification
However, during the mobile app development process, there are sometimes chances when the applicant forgets to opt for a mobile app patent. Thus, in the absence of a mobile app idea patent, there are a list of things applicant goes through-
What Are The Things Happen If You Ignore Mobile App Patent ?
Mobile app patent safeguards the applicant’s mobile app idea from the prominent competitors or biggest players in the business industry to let them create even the smallest change into the app idea and launch it into the market. Thus, if one does not opt for the patents, consequences, and safeguarding the app idea might cause one to slip away their idea.
If your app idea gets to slip away from the applicant, getting stiff competition in the form of a few improvements and variations into the app idea can create an undue amount of competition. All this together will create a divided market share, clash, profit share- all these will be compromised.
Thus, opting for a patent might save one from all this comprehensively.
An application that resembles your app idea with a little variation and small changes into the app by competitors might create a lot of confusion for the users in the market. The confusion created by the original app idea and the variated one will bring indifferent benefits in terms of the user base, revenue, profit, goodwill, and so on.
Thus, your share of benefits will take away your fair share of the application in the market. This will deteriorate the value of your innovation, and create an ultimate loss to the customer base, revenue, and others.
Loss Of Revenue
Loss of intellectual property, technological change, innovation if stolen will bring noticeable loss and other profit loss which otherwise would be the opposite. Like- if you would have patented your application, the revenue stream would be better without the hurdles of safeguarding app ideas from the competitors.
All these situations can be easily shifted if done with a nice patenting process.
Let’s check how a mobile app idea patent can help businesses protect their raw mobile app idea swiftly.
How Mobile App Patents Can Help Businesses?
Product Innovation Protection
If you have opted for the product or mobile app idea patent, getting things done swiftly becomes easy and convenient. Also, it will directly impact the level of productivity, and quality of work being produced.
Also, filing patents ensures the safety of the idea making the process precise and easy to deploy.
Open Source Licenses Opportunities
After the mobile app patent, the app owner can look for a problem-solving initiative along with opting for open source license distribution. Through it, it will become convenient for other entities to use the owner’s product and innovation under a set of terms & conditions.
All these will together protect the product from any kind of unethical uses and unforeseen modifications while enabling one to scale the customer base.
Once you have caught hold of your mobile app idea ownership, other people who will be using your app idea need to pay the owner a property fee. It is one of the best ways to promote your brand while making the business earn a good amount of revenue stream through royalty.
We have talked about the pros, and cons of mobile app idea patents, but who can actually enroll for the same is also important to understand.
Let’s check who qualifies for a mobile app idea patent. The further scrolls will be answering can you patent an idea for an app or not.
What Are The Requirements To App Patent?
For meeting the eligibility criteria of the mobile app idea, one needs to come up with some exclusiveness into the app idea. Thus, the idea should be extremely supreme, and undebatable when it comes to making the trend of the respective industry.
Also, an idea that somehow seems like an inspiration taken from the existing patent can face rejection and thus requires substantial modifications before filing the patent once again.
This is one of the next eligibility criteria for filing the mobile app patent. There are many mobile applications that get rejected just because of this point.
Let us give you an example for more clarity-
There is an existing mobile application helping you to report the known sites about the level of ozone depletion. The app works using a GPS system and is built on JS libraries. Now, there is one app development company that enters the scene and developed a somewhat similar app with more number of features or functionalities while using Node, Angular, or another library, the chaos will then reject the idea of patenting the mobile app.
This shows that there isn’t any innovation blocking the way towards a successful procurement of the mobile app patent.
The third criterion that asks for a mobile app patent is to look if the app idea is enough to solve the problem of users around the world. In order to let the app be patented, it is crucial that the app should be a respective innovation for the users to use.
Also, if the app has great problem-solving ability, getting the app patent is easier.
With everything ready, it is now the time to know the crucial steps to patent a mobile app idea.
What Are The Steps To Patent A Mobile App Idea?
Inventors & Ownerships
This is the beginning of your mobile app idea patent where documenting anything and everything is crucial to get started with. It is the starting of your app idea carrying every thought and innovation you might have for it.
Thus, before getting started with how to patent an app idea and the procedure behind, make sure you went through certain questions like-
- Is your app capable of solving real problems?
- Is there more than one plus about your application?
- Is your app idea leading to a better idea because of the intuition and input both?
Also, there might be a case where you have partners too for the app idea- co-investors. Make sure you are including them in the mobile app patent procedure. Once done with the basic certainty, next is the patent ownership.
There are instances when some people take a step ahead and work on their own app idea. The only thing they often forget is the use of resources given by the employer. And in this case, if the work got leaked or revealed, the ownership might be given to the employer by default.
To avoid such situations, it is recommended to use your personal resources and things for a smoother process.
Other App Research
No matter how outstanding your idea can be for the market and masses, or if your idea is truly new and innovative, skipping research is never an option. Research is the most integral part of any process and also even before filing a patent for the app idea.
It is crucial to look at the market if somebody might have created an almost similar app or software solution if not in your native country but in a foreign land. If your idea matches with theirs, the chances of legal actions might occur greatly.
Also, there are instances where solutions are already prepared but not marketed due to some reasons. This shows that the patent holders have their rights and haven’t made their app idea commercial or public yet.
Thus make sure you are investing good time in research as there are some in the market who might claim their royalty once you market your solution commercially. To safeguard yourself from any unlawful claims and issues, make sure you are giving a good time to in-depth market research and app research.
Patent Attorney & Law Firm
After the research of your apps, it is now the time to look at the patent attorney and the law firm. Don’t just simply nod to the first attorney right away you meet or introduce too. Research more about it.
The research for the patent attorney is important because he/she will be required to help you with all the legal processes while safeguarding your app idea nicely.
It is now the time for app documentation from start to finish, including everything. There are times when app developers or the app idea owner come up with the detailed prototype of the app and forgets to look at the other side of the app.
However, what is important here is to understand that the app prototype is not enough to patent the app, what is important here is to patent the app’s functionality.
Here, safeguarding the code, technology, the software is not about patenting, the app’s functionality, and the process it lays is required for the mobile app patent.
Patent Search & Legal Opinion
After all the hard work of doing research, finding the patent attorney, and documenting the app idea, it is now the time to look for the app eligibility.
There are many apps in the market just like yours with almost similar functionality. Thus, you need to be sure that your patent attorney does have information about similar apps.
In case if your app gets rejected, you can still protect some other aspects of your application under design patent law. UI, the workspace configuration, visual effects, app icon, under design patent law as ornamental novelties.
Filing Provisional or Nonprovisional
The filing of a provisional patent or nonprovisional patent application depends upon the app’s given solution and market conditions. Other than that, the app’s business plan is also important for filing the patent application.
Nonprovisional app patent is the official and formal submittal under the USPTO examiner for reviewing and assessing. On the other hand, provisional patents are not reviewed by a USPTO patent examiner and cater to locking to the early priority date resulting in owning the patent rights.
App application With USPTO
This stage of the mobile app patent involves a lot of administrative steps, paperwork, tedious along with a straightforward process.
Here are the documents one is required to get started with the mobile app patent-
- Entity Status Form
- Application Data Sheet (ADS)
- Information Disclosure Statement
- Cover Sheet
- Fee Sheet
How Much Does It Cost To Patent An App?
Similar to the cost of developing a mobile application, how much does a patent cost for an app depends upon the various categories the app is being listed under USPTO listing. You can simply refer to the listing to know under which category your app idea falls for the costing part.
Meanwhile, here is a list of basic charges you will be charged for like-
- Patent Examination fee: $180-700
- Elementary filing fee: $70-280+
- Patent search fee: $150-600
You are also required to pay maintenance fees every four years:
- Year 4: $800-$1,600
- Year 8: $900-$3,600
- Year 12: $1,850-$7,400
How much does a patent cost for an app for non provisional patents might cost you somewhere between $10,000 to $15,000 whereas a provisional patent application will cost you around $2,000 – $6,000.
Now, if you have chosen an attorney for handling the app patent process, the cost might be divided into
- Provisional patent application preparations costs $2,500-$5,000
- Non-provisional patent application preparations costs $10,000-$15,000
- Re-applying for the rejected application costs $5,000-$15,000
How Much Time Does It Take To Patent An App?
Now, it is time to understand the time required for developing an application just like the time required for developing an application.
There are many times when apps get rejected and then required resubmission of the application again and again. This overall process might last more than 4 years or less/more as per the requirements and circumstances.
Other than patenting the application, there are many other ways a mobile app idea can be protected under the lawful structure.
What Are The Alternative Ways To Protect The Mobile App Idea?
How to get an app idea patented is not the final step for protecting the mobile app idea, there are more alternative ways of protecting app ideas. Let’s check out those ways too-
- Copyright– Copyright helps the person to protect the app’s code along with the UI. It is a little cheaper than the patent filing, however, copyright can only protect the intellectual property if someone makes an identical copy of it.
- NDA– Non-Disclosure Agreement prevents app owners from sharing the information with other parties. The app owner is given the authority to sue if someone violates the agreement.
- NCA- Non-Compete Agreement is somewhat similar to NDA preventing the owner from working for a direct competitor for a particular time period after leaving the firm.
- Trademark– Trademark is capable of protecting the imagery associated with the application. It includes designs, logos, the company’s name, and others. It is economical and is often considered one of the best ways to protect the application.
- Records– It is recommended to document each and every phase of the app thoroughly. Record even the smallest details of the application through complete documentation.
- Distribution– It is good to know how one is willing to distribute the application. Also, never let the app idea be uploaded by any third party or barehanded without the owner’s supervision.
- Be sure of who you are working with– Make sure you are working with the person with a great reputation in the market. A leading mobile app development company might help you to make your idea into a reality.
How to patent an app idea filing process is a calculative and research-based aspect even after the mobile app ideation process. Any idea is an important idea and if it is not being protected from the competitors or from the normal people, chances of it being stolen become high.
Patenting the app is one of the best ways to get rid of any issues attached with the mobile app idea. Connect with our experts for more in-depth understanding and the process behind mobile app patents.
Co-Founder and VP Mobile Architect at Appventurez. An expert programmer who is passionate and loves to explore emerging mobile technologies. As a leader, he is a perfect match as he is always there for the team to help and guide them to learn and implement smartly and effectively.
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