How to patent a mobile app idea
The world of mobile applications is quite vast and increasingly becoming competitive. There were 230 billion global app downloads in 2021, while the average user spends 92.5 percent of their time on a mobile app. Moreover, it is expected that by 2023, mobile apps will generate over $9 billion in revenue. These statistics reveal a growing demand for mobile apps and benefits for investors.
Do you have a mobile app idea that you feel will be copied or stolen or, worse, launched by someone else before you? Well, you’re right to feel afraid. Can you patent your mobile app idea so that it’s protected? Yes, you can! This blog walks you through how to patent mobile app ideas so that your idea and efforts do not go to waste.
What Does It Mean to Patent A Mobile App Idea?
Having a mobile app idea is not enough, and you should patent if it is unique. An app idea patent makes you the rightful owner of your mobile app idea, preventing anyone else from copying it or using it without your consent.
It essentially protects your idea and gives you legal standing in case of illegal or non-consensual use. In addition, patenting your idea restricts another company from copying, selling, changing, or even claiming profit from it incorrectly.
Can You Patent Your Mobile App Idea?
You, an patent a mobile app idea; but it must meet than e set criteria. A patent is an Intellectual Property that is judged by the same criteria used for other products. The fundamental question asked when patenting a mobile app idea is what’s new in it?
To successfully patent a mobile app idea, it shouldn’t be obvious, which means it should be greatly different from other existing app products. Various features can be used to bring novelty to a mobile app idea, such as leveraging GPS receivers, sensors, and others
While it is not mandatory to patent an app idea, it is extremely useful and provides safety and protection to your idea. A patent allows you to get compensation in case of breach of patent laws. Furthermore, it legally binds the app idea to you as the rightful owner of it, preventing anyone else from utilizing, marketing, and selling your idea.
Patenting your app idea has numerous benefits. For one, it allows you to charge for every clone of your app before or while it is in the line-up. Having a patent also proves the originality and uniqueness of your idea and prevents anyone from benefitting from it financially. This means a patent also protects you from financial damage.
How To Know Your Mobile App Idea Is Eligible For A Patent?
Patenting your mobile idea brings you many benefits. It secures your idea and protects you in case of contract breach. There are several things to consider that make a mobile app idea eligible for a patent. These are as follows:
A Mobile App Idea Should Be New and Unique
The first thing that qualifies your mobile app idea for patenting is that it should be unique. The concept should be completely new and different. It shouldn’t be similar to another app that exists to solve a similar problem.
You can determine the uniqueness and viability of your app idea by testing it in the market. However, nothing related to it should be revealed in any form or document to the public.
It should be an Invention
A patent, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) presents a solution for an issue. These are generally used to protect an “invention”. So if your app idea is considered an invention it will likely qualify for a patent.
It Must Qualify as Useful
Your app idea qualifies for a patent if it is considered useful. This means it should perform well to solve a problem at least theoretically. If it is not considered useful, it will be difficult to get a patent for it.
How To Know If App Idea Is Patented Or Not?
It’s important to know if your app idea is already patented or not to save yourself time and effort. If it is, all your efforts could be in vain. You can check all the marketed or pending patents in the operational database of your state or country. This data is accessible and safe.
Furthermore, you can also check through the International Patent Classification (IPC) Catchword Index of WIPO. You can find all the relevant data relating to unique international patents over there. Digging into databases will reveal useful information regarding patenting an app idea and you’ll know if yours is patented or not already.
When to File For a Patent?
When to patent an app idea does not have a straightforward answer. It depends on different things including the scope of the idea and how forward-thinking the creator is along with the extent of creativity of the idea.
You should know that the patent is, however, given to the one who files it first and not to the one who first came up with the idea. So, it is advisable to file for a patent early in the invention process, as soon as you have a framework of the app idea’s usability and usefulness.
Another thing to remember is that identifying a goal for your app idea does not qualify it for a patent. It is not enough to say what it will accomplish. However, if you can explain how it will work before the coding a patent can be filed.
Steps to Follow to Patent Your Mobile App Idea
If you have decided to patent a mobile app idea it will require a lot of paperwork. You must be prepared to develop diagrams, flowcharts, and other material to explain your idea. Below you can find an easy-to-follow guideline that shows how to patent an idea:
Hire and Consult With a Patent Lawyer
To maximize the chances of getting your patent approved, you must consult with a patent lawyer. Make sure you choose someone with considerable experience in software patenting. Since filing a patent is a legal process, it may include legalities. Involving a professional will help you create a top-notch, precise patent that has a higher chance of getting approved.
Bring an Idea to Reality
When you file a patent, the court will ask for proof. To increase the chances of getting a patent for your app idea make sure documentation for the development process is complete. You may bring your idea to reality by having a prototype developed which will show the flow of the app.
Conduct a Patent Search
While you can conduct a patent search on your own, it is advisable to hire a patent lawyer that conducts a deep patent search for your app idea to identify similar apps or those with similar functionalities or flows.
You need to be certain before filing your patent that you are not in breach of a patent by another organization or one regarding your app idea doesn’t exist already.
File Any of the Two Patent Applications
There are two kinds of patent applications that can be filed for your mobile app idea. These include provisional and non-provisional patent applications.
A provisional application does not require filing a data disclosure statement or a formal patent claim. A patent application comes with a few benefits. It costs less and you can mention “Patent Pending” on your app. Moreover, it allows 12 months for creating the MVP.
If you file the non-provisional application it has to contain the app specifications and total claim. Furthermore, you have to submit a written description of the invention and a claim defining it legally.
If you want a quick approval on your patent then filing a non-provisional application is recommended. Filing a provisional application buys you more time to test your idea.
What Is The Cost Of Patent A Mobile App?
The cost of patenting a mobile app differs by the category it is in. If you are filing a provisional patent, the cost can vary between $2000 and $5000. A provisional patent is valid up to a year of its grant. You can use the time to refine your app and test its viability in the market. On the other hand, the price for a non-provisional patent varies between $10,000 and $15,000.
Patenting an idea is not easy, rather it requires hard work. You need to have confidence in your idea and believe in its uniqueness. If you believe your mobile app idea qualifies for an invention, you must absolutely get it patented. While the process of acquiring a patent may be tedious, critical, costly, and long, in the long run, it can help you immensely to protect your business rights.