It is perfectly normal to feel like someone is going to steal your invention. After all, you must have spent a considerable amount of time and intellect building your app idea. While intellectual property law protects your mobile app idea through patent, trademark, and copyright you must learn the steps to prevent other people from making, selling, and using it. You have probably been told that you need to patent your app idea to protect it but the steps seem so cumbersome and impractical. Follow these practical steps to patent your precious mobile app.
What do you need to know before you Patent?
- Your mobile app idea must be qualified for patenting. While it is possible to patent a mobile application, your app idea will be disqualified if it does not meet certain criteria. Your app must be a novel invention developed to provide a solution to a particular problem or problem. It must be non-obvious and be viewed as an unexpected development even to someone very skilled in your field. Finally, it must be useful.
- You cannot patent an idea. Not in the literary sense of it, you cannot. In the same way, you cannot patent your code, mathematical formulas, the law of nature, and any other things that can do with the human body alone.
Steps to Patenting your App Idea
1. Do a thorough Research
You are patenting your app to prevent copycats from cloning it. So, you need to offer others the same courtesy in order to avoid dealing with a lawsuit in the future. Do a patent search for apps that are similar to your mobile app idea in function and study them. This has been made easier by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). You can find all patented mobile apps on their website. If you find an already patented app very similar to yours, then some modifications to your app are required.
2. Get a Software Patent Attorney
While patent might seem like something every average Joe can do, you need an experienced attorney. The legal help you have will boost your confidence in getting your app idea accepted by the USPTO. This means you need an attorney who has extensive knowledge and experience of all patent-related matters.
3. File a Provisional Patent Application (PPA)
You can file a provisional patent application for apps that are still in development. Since the USPTO on patent law favors a developer who files first and not first to invent, you can be putting the finishing touches on your app idea, continuing your research, or even be testing your app idea functionality after you have filed a PPA. Filing a PPA is cheap and costs $65-$260 at the USPTO. PPA is valid for a year.
4. File a Non-provisional Patent Application
Unlike a Provisional Patent Application, a non-provisional application requires making a claim. Specification, claims, and drawings are the essential parts of a non-provisional patent application.
- The specification must be elaborate but clear. This is where you will convince the examiner that your app is unique and different from other apps in the market. It comprises the title, background, summary, and description.
- The claim is the most important part of a non-provisional patent application. This is where you state the part of your app idea you are patenting.
- Use drawings and figures to represent a visual representation of the app.
5. Submit your software application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office
You can send your patent application to the USPTO through electronic means or traditional mail. Remember to thoroughly check important areas of your application before filing.
While the process of patenting the app might be tedious and long, it is much better than getting your idea stolen by copycats. Do not be daunted by the process and look only at the benefit of holding your patent right for 20 years.
Author: SVCIT Editorial
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