A good idea is often hard to find but worth the effort. When it comes to technology, it is even more appropriate. The market has become more competitive than before. Hence, you need a more innovative app to attract more customers to your business. Now, there is a chance that millions of other people are thinking about the same idea as yours at the same time. You can be the best mobile app development company india but your competitors can build an application similar to yours before you even start building one.
The best bet is to patent your brilliant app concept even before you run into the development stage. Perhaps it is recommended that you patent your app before officially disclosing it in the market or pitching it to potential investors to prevent its duplication.
What is a Patent?
If you want to patent an application idea, you first need to understand what a patent is. In simple words, a patent is a right that is granted to an individual or a company so that they can protect their invention from being duplicated. Patents are also called rights granted exclusively by the government over an idea or a product. A patent gives the company or the individual full control over the product or idea since it comes under the law. Once you patent your idea, no one else can copy, steal or even sell it to other people or organizations. It is more like legal security that is provided to your idea or product.
Three main ideas to develop the patent application or concept are:
- Only you can assert the benefits and earnings from the app idea.
- If you don’ give authorization, no one will be able to imitate or replicate your app idea or its concept.
- No person or organization can offer your idea for sale or usage.
Although you must remember one thing. A patent remains functional for only a certain period. A patent can be utilized for 20 years. After that, the legal protection is withdrawn and your idea or product will fall into the public domain.
How many types of Patents are there?
Patents can be classified into three types. That is, you can choose from three types of patents.
This patent is used for licensing the technical documents that give away the knowledge on using machines. In addition, software that is driven by the internet or is based on similar technologies uses this patent to protect its product or idea.
Whenever new and original designs are developed, this type of patent is used to safeguard them. The new and original designs of existing products are protected by law using this patent. Utility patents protect the knowledge of new technologies. Design patents, on the other hand, safeguard their look.
Did you know, you can patent plants too? Plant patents are used to protect newly discovered, invented plants. This even protects plants that are produced asexually.
Can you patent a Mobile App?
One of the most common questions mobile app development companies ask is can they patent their mobile app ideas or the apps themselves? The solution to this question is a total yes. You can patent your mobile app idea or the app itself. A mobile app idea comes about various other forms of interaction. However, you cannot patent the code of a mobile app since it comes under copyright law. In addition, your app must be unique to the app category that you have chosen to work in. Your idea must not collide with any other existing application from the category. The only thing required for patenting a mobile app is that the app needs to be an invention. You can get a design patent for your mobile app design. To do this, you have to patent the look of your application.
Is your App idea eligible for a patent? Know How
You need to meet certain categories to go with the process of patenting your app.
Is your app idea something totally out of the box? Does your app help people? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then your application idea is eligible for a patent. WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) has mentioned that the app that you are going to patent must solve one or more problems of your user. Also, your app idea must be free from being published on platforms like YouTube, Journals, Books, etc.
Is your App already patented?
You must ensure that your app idea is not patented by someone else before. There are thousands of entrepreneurs working on ideas every day. Their ideas may clash with yours. You can crosscheck this data from the operation database available with your country or state. You can visit sites like USPTO or Google patents to getting information regarding the patents.
How can you patent your idea? Steps to follow
Now that you know you can patent your mobile app idea, you should know how to patent your idea.
- Contact a patent attorney – You need a document that is well-informed and covers all the terms and conditions of filing the patent. If you want to increase the chances of your application to get selected, you must hire a software patent attorney. The attorney you are hiring must be experienced with ideas in the patent. The legal procedure needs to be completed in the presence of an attorney for smooth operations.
- Mobile app invention disclosure – The courts need tangible proof of your invention so that they can issue a patent against it. You must ensure the documentation of the entire development process. Developing a prototype of your application and testing its flow is also recommended. You can hire dedicated Android Developer who can help develop the app on the Android platform. Keep a prototype for the IOS platform as well. This helps your attorney to be aware of the application you are making along with how it operates and how it is useful to the user.
- Search for patents – Although you have researched well, it is always recommended to hire a patent attorney to secure the process of receiving patents. Patent attorneys conduct research worldwide for applications that are similar to yours and make sure you stay safe from any kind of infringement.
- File a patent application – How do you exactly file your patent application? Ideas are usually patented in two types. You can either file the application using a Provisional Application or a Non-Provisional one. Provisional applications are best if you want to apply without declaring the patent formally, or any statement of disclosure. You will also get one year to develop and refine the MVP. A “patent pending” label can be used on the product. This means you have a year time to hire IOS app developers along with the Android ones and then work on your product. It is also less expensive to prepare.
Non-Provisional Patent Applications are required to consist of every minor detail and application claim. These are filed without any claims in the country of the convention. You must provide a detailed description of your invention and a legal claim to define it.
- Submit the application – Finally, submit your application to the USPTO. This is a tiring process that involves a lot of paperwork. However, this is important.
Pocket pinch for Patenting an App
It is difficult to conclude the cost of patenting straightaway. It depends on which type of patent you are applying for. However, we can give you a range of costs on average for patenting a mobile app.
Provisional Patent Application: $2000 to $5000
Non-Provisional Patent Application: $10,000 to $15,000.
Moreover, you are required to pay some basic charges for filing the patent application.
- Elementary filing fee: $70 to $280+
- Patent search fee: $150 to $600
- Patent Examination fee: $180 to $700
- 3.5 year maintenance fee: $400 to $1600 and you will require this to keep your granted patent valid.
- 7.5 year maintenance fee: $900 to $3600
- 11.5 year maintenance fee: $1850 to $7000+
How long does it take for patenting a Mobile App?
Commenting on the time taken for patents to be granted is a tough job. It may take several months to even years for patents to get granted on mobile applications. Mark Zuckerberg had to wait 6 long years until he got a patent for Facebook.
As you have seen from the above steps, patenting an app idea seems hard and is a long-term process. It is also an expensive process ,to say the least. However, if you believe in your idea, if you think your idea or product can help your users, then you must get it patented as soon as possible. Getting a patent is a tiresome process for sure. However, it has never ended up becoming a roadblock in the product market. Although it can slow down your development process.