Ideas flow like water in the mind. It can come from anywhere and at any time. The biggest challenge is to execute that idea before someone else starts working on the same thing. And this is true in the case of mobile app development too.
Mobile apps make up a huge part of the internet and the market! If you have not acted at the right time, it may be too late for you to capture the targeted market. Especially when the market is so competitive, taking the first step is always important.
If you are worried that someone else will steal your idea and disrupt the market, it’s better to patent it. Yes, it’s possible nowadays to patent an app concept even before you present it to the investors and the market.
If you’re looking to get into the mobile app space, this guide will show you how to patent an app idea from start to finish. This article will help a mobile app development company in India, individual developers, and business owners.
Patenting a Mobile App Idea—What does it actually mean?
An app patent refers to an intellectual property right to safeguard your app concept and idea from illegal and non-voluntary usage. You can patent the method or the process used for performing some course of action.
Any individual or organization can’t copy, sell, make profits, or modify the app without the consent of the patent owner. It’s crucial to patent an app because you can apply for compensation if someone breaches the patent law.
Moreover, you can charge an individual or organization that tries to build a clone of your app. Your unique app idea will remain yours in the end.
Kinds of Patent Applications
A mobile app development company in Bangalore can apply for either a provisional or non-provisional app patent.
- Provisional patents are easy to file, but they’re limited to 12 months only. After that, you have to apply for the non-provisional patent.
- Provisional patents are cheaper than non-provisional.
- It may take around 18 months to file the patent and 24–28 months to make the patent.
When does an app become eligible for a patent?
An app is only ready for a patent when it meets the following criteria:
- The app idea should be unique and must be unknown to anyone, not even to your investors.
- Patents are the best solution to protect inventions.
- It should work in theory and be useful for the users.
Who can file for the app patent?
The app patent can only be registered by an individual, an android development company in India, or an iOS development company in Bangalore, India, etc., who has filed the patent first and not the one who invented it. This is why many startups and entrepreneurs file provisional apps before announcing the app information publicly. You can talk to a patent attorney to discuss patenting your application idea.
What documents are required for the app patent?
For the mobile app patent, a lot of paperwork is required. Some of the most important documents that you have to present are:
- Declaration form
- Entity Status Form
- Information Disclosure Statement:
- Application Data Sheet
- Fee Sheet
- Cover Sheet
How to file an app patent?
Hire a Professional
Don’t consider yourself smart enough to file an app patent. There are some legal procedures to follow, and this is when you will need the help of a software patent attorney.
He can help to create a properly designed high-class patent, which will increase your chances of getting your app selected. You can hire a software patent attorney with several years of experience.
Turn the Idea into Reality
Because the court officially demands proof of your app, it’s necessary to show tangible proof. After that, the court will permit a patent against your application.
So, if you haven’t built a prototype yet, then start working on it to understand its flow. This helps your attorney get an app flowchart. Make sure to prepare a document for your app too, so you can present the idea in a better manner. This makes the patent for the app easier to file.
Look for the Patent
It may seem that you have done the research part, but the fact is, that similar apps like yours can already own the patent. It may or may not have the same functionalities or flow. Hence, it’s always advised to take the help of a professional patent attorney who can do deep patent research. Otherwise, you may have to deal with infringement from companies holding the patent.
Submit Any Patent Application
You can either apply for a provisional patent application or a non-provisional one. It depends on the budget you have and your time.
If you file the patent through email, keep one copy before forwarding it to the patent office. Don’t forget to add the following:
- Filing date
- Your app’s name
- Your name
- Self-addressed postcard
- List of all documents
- Page Numbers
A provisional patent application allows you to file it without the need for a formal patent declaration, claims, and information closure department. However, more detailed information about the app is necessary to proceed further with the provisional app.
Under this, you can enjoy the following benefits:
- You will be granted 12 months of patent time for building MVP.
- It lets you use the “Patent Pending” term to avoid any future problem of infringement or stealing of ideas.
After the 12-month period ends, you have to file a regular patent before the filing date for the non-provisional app, ends.
For the Purposes of Filing a Regular Patent
In the first round of examination, the examiner can reject the app. So generally, it takes 2-3 years for the app to be accepted by the patent office.
Your patent application is considered by the following factors:
The specifications of your app idea are the features that make your app stand out in the market. This should be depicted in detail along with an efficient idea of mass production. If your specification lacks these details, getting patent approval will become difficult. It must contain the following points:
You will have to maintain transparency of the app elements if you are applying for its ownership. And the claims can make this possible.
If the app features a visual interface, including relevant figures and visual information is important. Make sure that the diagrams look good and meet the industry’s standards.
Other Ways to Protect Your Application
An app idea goes through several examination processes before making it eligible for a patent. So, is there any other way to protect your app idea? Yes, there are some more ways to keep your app idea protected.
- Copyright: If you ever share an app idea with a close friend and he ends up copying it, your dream will be shattered in an instant. So, it’s better to copyright your app code and UI so that no one else will be able to copy it. This might not be the most cost-effective option, but it helps to keep your app idea unique and yours.
- Non- Disclosure Agreement: The non-disclosure agreement should be accepted and signed by every employee you hire. It stops them from sharing app-related ideas or any other details with others, and if they do, they have to deal with a lawsuit for the violation.
- Non-Compete Agreement: After signing this agreement, your developers can’t work with other competitors for a specific period of time, even if they leave your company.
- Trademark: It protects the brand image elements such as logos, designs, tiles, catalogs, ads, and so on.
- Records: Records bring clarity by showing the minute details of building the app. These kinds of documents are important when you require infringement lawsuits.
If you think that your app is unique and can disrupt a big market segment, then going for the patent is a great idea. This is because it’s far better to have the patent than see a copied one doing well. A patent is required to properly protect your intellectual property.
For an app patent, you have to go through the legal process. However, it’s important to have tangible proof of your project, or else the app patent will not approve it.
To get more information on app patents or how to file an application and hire the right patent attorney, comment below. We will try to assist as far as possible. Stay connected and keep reading our blogs!