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Journal - App Development

How to Patent an App Idea In 2024 | A Complete Guide

Written By Mashia Aftab – Last Modified On April 19, 2024

Patenting an app idea is a smart way to protect your intellectual property and ensure that you receive appropriate rewards for your hard work. It can also help you attract investments and boost the company’s valuation. A patent can be the key to building a successful and profitable business in the technology sector. Here, we will explore how to patent an app idea and everything you need to know about app patents, and how to obtain one. 

How Can You Protect Your App?

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You’ve got an idea for a new app. And you’re ready to launch it into the world. But how can you protect your app by using a patent?

The answer is: it depends! You can file for a patent, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be approved. And even if your patent is approved, that doesn’t mean that other people won’t be able to copy your idea. So how do you protect your app idea?

There are three main ways:

  • Trademarking
  • Copyrighting
  • Securing a patent

If you have an app idea, you want to make sure that it is protected. While there are many ways to protect your app, as we mentioned above, one of the most common ways is through a patent.

Also Read: How Can I Find Programmers?

Patent: What Is It?

A patent is a legal document that protects your invention or idea from being used by anyone else without your permission. In order to get a patent, you must submit your idea to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The USPTO will review your application and determine if it meets its standards for patentability. If they approve your application, they will issue you a patent. This provides legal protection from anyone who wants to use your invention without paying you royalties or fees.

  • Patents help protect your intellectual property rights
  • It prevents other people from stealing your idea
  • Stops others from duplicating your work for their profit. 

Why Is a Patent Important?

Patenting an app idea is only important if you want to protect the intellectual property you’ve developed. If you’re working on a project that could be commercially successful, and you want to keep others from using it without your permission, then patenting might be a good idea.

Patenting an app idea will help protect your work from competitors who might try to copy it or from people who want to use your idea without giving you credit or compensation. It also means that if anyone else tries to do something similar, they can’t claim it as their own they have to come up with their original ideas instead.

If you’re wondering why you should bother with patenting your app idea, here are some reasons why it’s worth the investment:

  • It gives you control over your idea
  • It prevents others from copying or stealing your idea
  • It provides legal protection for both parties involved in an agreement, i.e., contractors or investors.

Now, the real question is how to patent an app idea.

Also Read: Benefits Of Creating A Successful Banking Application

How to Patent an App Idea?

How to patent an app idea? Here’s how:

  • Locate and Work With a Patent Lawyer
  • Disclosure of Mobile Application Invention
  • Practice Patent Pursuit
  • Apply for a Patent, Provisionally or Non-Provisionally
  • Send Your Application In

It may seem like getting an app approved for a patent would be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. All it takes is some time and patience, plus some guidance from someone who knows what they’re doing.

1) Locate and Work With a Patent Lawyer

The first step in getting your app approved for a patent is finding someone who has experience in this field, someone who understands the process and can help guide you!

In order to patent your idea, you’ll need to hire a professional attorney and file an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The time it takes for your patent application to be reviewed will depend on how complex your idea is and how many similar applications they’ve received in recent months.

2) Disclosure of Mobile Application Invention

As they often say, “having an invention is a job half done,” you must finish this task. Your idea must become a reality. To grant a patent, the court requires concrete evidence of your application and the work you have been performing. You must be familiar with the documentation pertaining to the development process in order to accomplish that. You can also make a prototype to break down the overall flow. If you are looking for an agency for prototyping, look no further than Hapy.

This will also aid your attorney in understanding the application’s flowchart. Always keep in mind that getting a patent for your app depends more on its functionality than its code.

3) Practice Patent Pursuit

It is usually preferable to employ a patent attorney who can perform a global search of applications to see whether any apps are comparable to yours. Even if you have done your research, hiring a patent attorney is highly recommended because they may assist you in preventing any unforeseen infringement by other businesses.

4) Apply for a Patent, Provisionally or Non-Provisionally

Provisional and non-provisional patent applications are the two types of patent applications you can use to file a patent for your mobile app.

You can choose provisional applications if you are not in a rush to get a patent. However, non-provisional is the ideal option for you if you want your patent to be awarded sooner.

Also Read: A Detailed Guide On Mobile Development Outsourcing

5) Send Your Application In

This is the final step to patenting an app idea. Once you have successfully performed all the above steps and prepared a patent application, you must file it with the USPTO.

And during the process, you may need the following crucial documents:

  1. Application Data Sheet (ADS)
  2. Drawings
  3. Fee Sheet
  4. (optional) Patent Cooperation Treaty (for International Filings)
  5. Specification
  6. Information Disclosure Statement
  7. Claims
  8. Oath/Declaration

Types Of Patent Application

Applying for a patent is a big deal. It’s a lot of work and expensive, so it’s important to know your options and understand how the process works before you start filling out forms and clicking “Submit”.

You have two main options for applying for a patent: a provisional application and a non-provisional application. What you choose depends on whether or not your idea has been made public.

1) Provisional Application

Provisional Applications are usually used when an inventor wants to get feedback on their idea before they make it public or when they want to protect their idea while they continue perfecting it.

  • Provisional applications take less time and money to complete
  • They only protect your idea for one year
  • Provisional applications are less formal than non-provisional applications

The purpose of this is to establish your intent to patent your idea so that if someone else files for a patent on it before you do (which happens often), they will be forced to list your patent as one of their references when they apply for theirs.

2) Non-Provisional Application

In the non-provisional application, any significant number of legal issues need to be meticulously documented. A single mistake might lead to significant pressure and unbalance during the patent application procedure.

  • The non-provisional application is a longer form.
  • It requires more detail about the invention and its function.
  • It includes drawings or diagrams and additional information about how the invention works.
  • It is an expensive process.

This form must also include an abstract summarizing your invention’s main features, as well as a list of references used during research and development leading up to this point.

Also Read: 18 Tools to Measure, Quantify and Optimize the UX

How to Know if Your Mobile App Idea Qualifies for Patent Protection?

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Well, neither was your app idea.

The process of patenting an idea is lengthy and difficult, and it’s something that most people don’t want to do unless they’re sure their idea is going to be worth it. But how do you know if your app is worth patenting?

When you have an idea for a mobile app, there are three main things to consider before you worry about patenting:

  1. Does it solve a problem?
  2. Is it unique?
  3. Does it have the potential for success?

1) Does It Solve a Problem?

If your app solves a problem, you can file a provisional patent application to secure protection for the next 12 months while you develop your full-scale product.

2) Is It Unique?

If your app is unique but has no commercial viability, then file for non-provisional protection. This will protect against unauthorized use by competitors and others who might try to copy your idea without giving credit where credit is due (and also costs less).

3) Does It Have the Potential for Success?

If you’re still unsure whether or not your app has any commercial potential, then file an intent-to-use application instead. It will grant you protection as soon as you start using the product commercially.

Patenting a Mobile App: Requirements

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1) Important Documents and Details

Important documents and other details are a requirement for patenting an app because they help you to prove that your invention is unique and not just a copy of something already out there. Without this information, the patent office might not accept your application.

The documents that you need to include in this section vary depending on what kind of invention you’re trying to patent. For example, if you’ve come up with an idea for a new type of phone case, then you’ll need some images of the case as well as drawings or sketches of how it will look when it’s finished. If you’ve invented a new video game controller, you might need screenshots or videos of how players use the controller during gameplay. It all depends on what exactly it is that you’ve invented.

This requirement is a bit of a catch-all for the government, which wants to ensure that you’re not just throwing your idea over the fence and hoping for the best. The only way to do this is to make sure you give them everything they need to make their decision about your idea, which includes a few important details:

  1. What is the name of your app?
  2. What is its purpose?
  3. How does it work?
  4. What does it look like?

Also Read: Benefits of Using and Making a Dating App

2) Invention Must Be New

This means that it has never been patented or published in any way. It also cannot be in the public domain, which means that it cannot be used by or disclosed to the public.

This might seem like a pretty easy requirement to meet, but there are some things that you need to keep in mind as you start your search for patents on apps:

  • You can’t get a patent for something that already exists.
  • You can’t get a patent for something that’s already out there but hasn’t been published yet.

3) App Should Be Non-obvious

The requirement that an app is non-obvious is the most common cause for a patent application to be rejected. Why? Because an obvious idea is already in use.

If your app is already being used by other companies, it will be difficult to prove that your idea was not obvious and that it should have been invented by someone else.

In order to patent an app idea, you must show that you are the first person to come up with the idea. You can do this using prior art, all of the information available on similar products or inventions before your product was created.

Benefits of App Patenting

There are several benefits to filing for a patent.

  • Competitive Advantage
  • Protection of Digital Assets
  • Protects Your Business
  • Increases the Value Of Your Business
  • Aids In Growing Your Business

1) Competitive Advantage

As an app developer, you’re probably familiar with how difficult it can be to come up with a new idea in this field. That’s because there are so many apps that do the same thing: picture-sharing apps, food delivery services, you name it!

Because there are so many apps, it’s hard to differentiate yourself from them. But by patenting your app idea, you can do just that. You’ll have a competitive advantage over anyone who tries to market a similar concept, and you’ll be able to protect yourself from any legal action against you for stealing someone else’s idea.

2) Protection of Digital Assets

The protection of digital assets is one of the benefits of patenting an app idea.

When you patent an app, it’s like putting a fence around your idea. You’re saying, “this is my idea, and I’m going to protect it.” It means that no one else can use your idea without getting permission from you.

If someone does try to use your idea, they could face penalties under patent law. For example, if someone copies your app entirely and tries to sell it as their own, they could be sued for infringement by the original owner (you).

3) Protects Your Business

It protects your business by preventing others from infringing on your intellectual property. if you file a patent application and then try to launch your product without the patent, you could face serious legal consequences. For example, you could be required to pay damages if another company files a lawsuit against your business, claiming that it is using patented technology without permission.

Also Read: Top 7 iOS Programming Languages | ENOU Labs Guide

4) Increases the Value Of Your Business

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In addition, applying for a patent can help increase the value of your business by boosting its market value. When investors see that you have applied for a patent, they are more likely to invest in your company because it demonstrates a commitment to innovation.

5) Aids In Growing Your Business

Finally, obtaining a patent can help you grow your business by attracting potential investors. Many venture capital firms will not invest in companies that do not have patents because they do not believe they will be successful in the long run.

How Much Time Does It Require For Patenting a Mobile App and How To Reduce It?

This is a question that many people have been asking themselves. The truth is that there is no simple answer to this question. It depends on the complexity of your app and the legal aspects involved in it.

We cannot confirm how much time it would take, but in general, here’s how long it takes:

  • Drafting the application: 2-3 months
  • Filing the application: 1 month
  • Waiting for approval: 6 months
  • Approval process: 1 month

When you are trying to patent an app idea, there are some important things that you need to consider before you proceed with the process. These points might help you reduce the time.

1) Your Idea Must Be Unique

First, make sure your idea is unique and original so that it will not be rejected by any patent office when you apply for a patent certificate. This can be done by researching similar apps on Google Play Store or Apple App Store before filing for a patent application so that if someone else has already developed one similar to yours, then you would know about it and make changes based on their feedback if necessary before sending off your application form for examination purposes at Department Of Trade And Industry (DTI).

2) Choose an Experienced Attorney

It is also important to choose an experienced attorney who has worked on similar cases before so as to avoid any problems during the process, such as rejection due to a lack of adequate documentation or missing information required for submission purposes at the DTI office.

How Much Does It Cost to Patent an App Idea?

The cost of filing for a patent depends on several factors, including the type of patent you are applying for and the complexity of your invention. In general, the average cost of filing for a utility patent is $5,000 to $7,500. This is a relatively small price when considering that it could protect your business for many years to come. However, it is possible to obtain other types of patents at a lower cost.

  • For example, design patents can cost as little as $225 to file. This is a great option if you only want to protect the appearance of your design and not the functionality of your product.
  • Similarly, you can find a trademark for around $275. This is a less expensive option than applying for a utility patent, but it could still help you avoid many unnecessary legal issues in the future.

When it comes to the cost of securing a patent, an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure.

Why Are Patenting App Ideas Not For All App Owners?

If you are thinking about patenting your app idea, you might think that it is a good idea for all app owners. However, this is not the case. We’ve all heard the stories of successful apps that have made millions in a very short time. But what about the one-hit wonders or the apps that are still struggling to get off the ground? Do patents protect these apps?

Unfortunately, patenting an app idea isn’t for everyone. While it’s tempting to think that patents should protect all apps, there are many reasons why this isn’t always possible. Here are some of these reasons:

1) Your App May Be Too Similar To Other Apps

The app is too similar to another existing product or service. If a company has already released an app that does the same thing as yours, then you might not be able to patent your version because it would be considered “obvious” to someone who already knew about it. This could cause legal trouble if someone else tries to take action against you for stealing their idea!

2) App Is Simple

The app is too simple or basic (e.g., a calculator app). Unless there’s something truly innovative about how your particular calculator works compared with others out there, then there won’t be much point in patenting it.

Bottom Line

You can patent an app idea. You can do it!

You have to be sure that the idea is unique and yours, though. If you’re the first person to think of a particular problem and create a solution for it, then that’s an app idea worth protecting. But if you’re re-inventing what other people have done before, it’s not worth your time or money. If you want to make sure you’re protecting something that isn’t already out there, then make sure that your app idea is as original as possible, and don’t forget to keep all those receipts.

Now you know all the steps to patenting an app idea. If you’ve got a good idea, it’s worth going through this process.

If you have any questions or need more help, contact us. We’re happy to help!


Can You Patent a Social Media App?

The answer is that, depending on a number of criteria, specific aspects of a social media website or social media app may one day be patentable.

Do You Need to Patent a Mobile App?

It varies. It takes a long time and money to obtain a patent. A patent is not required if your app will not likely generate enough revenue or if it will only be there for a brief period. However, you should think about getting a patent if your program has a significant level of commercial value.

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