How to Patent your Mobile App?
It might often be the case that you have a brilliant mobile app idea and you don’t want anyone to emulate it. How do you prevent your idea from being stolen? It’s simple – get it patented. For this to happen, you would need to know everything about your mobile app in the manner that you can explain it to a fifth grader right from its building blocks.
Mobile application patents take up a lot of hard work and the process can be tedious. However, it is important that you do it immediately as it will protect your app from the thousands of market copycats, waiting to simply de-engineer your application, copy it, and then sell it out in the market again.
One of the prerequisites of patenting is that the application must be unique and shouldn’t portray a similar design an idea as an app that already exists. It cannot be a counterfeit that would be heavily disguised in the hope that it doesn’t get caught. The idea should be very original and unique.
Can Applications Really be Patented
Once you understand what a patent stands for, you’ll know the answer to this question. There is a difference between patenting technology and copyrighting it. While the code gets protected by copyright law, the technology would come under the patent.
The entire method of developing an app can be protected under patent rights. Even the articles of manufacture, the machines, and other innovations that you include can be patented. The characters of the application (if it is a game) can be copyrighted. Meaning the entire thing can come under several layers of protection. You simply need to understand the basic difference between these two protections and then proceed accordingly. Moreover, take a look at other mobile app patent examples to understand the process better.
What About the Eligibility of Your App?
Your app needs an eligibility criterion to be patented. The patent’s authority does not patent just anything that people apply for. The first thing that has to be cross-referenced is whether someone else has saved upon the same application.
Check the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This will help you to understand if your idea or something similar has been patented before. Conduct a simple mobile app patent search, look around for similar keywords, and you’ll find it right away.
Like we mentioned above, mobile app patenting is a time-taking process. It’s not like you’ve been granted a patent and you get to rule over it forever. There are times, though rare, that at a later stage, it is discovered that some other company had already filed for a similar patent much earlier. You then stand to be liable for being charged for patent infringement.
If you want to avoid such circumstances, ALWAYS cross-check your references. Also, simply patenting the idea isn’t enough. You have to patent how it works – meaning the entire technology behind it. This would include a list that you cannot patent – which includes pre-existing mathematical equations, laws that violate those of physics, etc.
Most importantly, your application must have a unique feature. It has to be novel for even those who are qualified in the state of the art. Those who are well-versed will technology should also never have heard of your app. There is a good chance that your application would be denied if it doesn’t match these criteria as the subject matter experts of the field look into your idea and see if it is or isn’t copied. Your mobile app idea has to be compulsorily new, novel, or a complete innovation or invention.
Your application also has to be useful. If it isn’t doing anything fruitful, there is no point in getting it launched anyway. If you’ve heard of fake fingerprint scanner apps, fan cooler apps, etc., you would know what we’re talking about.
The Process of Filing the Patent
The entire procedure is extremely tiresome. First, the provisional patent is filed for. This is when you can fix a date as to when you will submit the entire application. Till this stage, you need to at least write in theory the details of what your app would be able to do, its usefulness and purpose, its functioning, its programming, etc. There should be drawings, flow charts, visuals, or whatever is deemed necessary for your application.
This is a very crucial step. Based on this, your patent hearing date will be finalized. You don’t need to submit your app at this stage. There is a one-year standing time, wherein you can work on your app and see if it reaches the completion status.
The date of filing the provisional patent is important. Let’s say someone contests you at court and claims that your app idea has already been patented by them, you will simply be given preference because you have filed the application first. Based on this, you can also sue the other company.
Filing a mobile app patent needs finances. You will be required to pay that fee. After this, within 1 year, you have to file a regular patent. Your app will now be required to be submitted to the board. There will be a lot of things that need to come into consideration, including specifications, drawings, claims, abstract, etc.
If all goes well, it’ll be very soon that you’ll see your mobile app patented. For more informative stories, stay tuned with AppMystery.
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