Mobile app development in uk is rapidly expanding in today’s industry and it also becomes valuable to patent your application because of the vast development of analogous applications. If you have a decent and distinctive idea, you can get it patented. While it is very possible to successfully patent an app, it is also important in order to guard your abstract idea from replication.
In order to keep your app protected you would require to know about the entire process from scratch. Plenty of research goes in behind patenting an application. The process of patenting an app idea is quite tricky but at the same time it is imperative for an app developer or an organization to shelter it from the marketplace; every second there are multiple ideas keep coming in and your idea may be one amongst them. Either it’s you or somebody else who will patent your abstract idea.
Let’s first understand what patent means? An IP (Intellectual property) rights preventing a distinctive idea, an innovation to be replicated by clones. It gives you reassurance from infringement. Property rights correlating to an invention, a legal protection that discounts other to make and sell a congruent application. Patents are also categorized into utility and design patents.
A utility patent protects the way an app functions like methods, compositions. It lasts up to 20 years from the date of filing a patent. On the other hand, a design patent protects the way how an app layout looks i.e. insubstantial assets. It lasts up to 15 years from filing the patent.
Can we really get an app patented?
Many people speculate about patenting an app. While the answer is ‘yes’ in majority of the cases but the more important part is how and what we could patent.
Patenting an application colossally entails proper functioning, methods, machine, and manufacturing article. There are particular things that cannot be patented like code, mathematics formulas, techniques, however, they can be copyrighted.
The keynote is to comprehend how patents are granted. There are different criteria associated with patenting a mobile application. There are several features of an application that you can get patented:
- Security and authentication.
- Mobile interface processing.
- User interface.
- Server processes.
- Data privacy.
Requisites for Patent Acceptability:
Just because you’ve got a concept, it doesn’t mean you’re eligible for a patent. It requires deep research about your app. Is there a similar app already patented? The simplest way is to comprehend all the USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office) rules. The very first requirement is for you to have the patient search for any related keywords to confirm that your app idea is peculiar.
The USPTO also will identify that your application relating to patenting an app is not analogous to an existing application, failing which you would likely face rejection. A patent isn’t about who has invented the idea, it’s about who is the first one to apply and get a patent.
It is also important to know your idea should include all the required attributes, an outline of how an app will work and what makes it exceeding. Your app should qualify an eligibility test, which underlies three basic questions associated with your app:
- Is your application new?
- Is your invention have utility (i.e. having an abstract idea)?
- Is your invention non-obvious?
In order to qualify that your application is new i.e. is distinct from previous inventions, USPTO will check what makes your application different from existing patents or prior applications.
If your application is offering a solution to an issue it doesn’t mean it’s extraordinary. Your software should have a robust impact on solving the issues that others don’t replicate either by the unique functions or methods.
The next eligibility requirement is utilitarian i.e. your app should be useful. If your application is distinct in a way it outshines. Your idea should be an addition of something extra which means your function should be new in such a way that would be considered as your invention previously not invented within the market.
The third is non-obviousness. Now understanding what non-obviousness refers to is a bit tricky. It means your application should be deemed as different by the expert person in the relevant area of invention. It shouldn’t include further modification of a concurrent app, it should be inventive enough to be new.
An application should be invented with such processes that ought to not be obvious to the experts. So as to qualify non-obviousness your app might be a way of learning for anyone expert in the field. If an expert concludes your application as easy to implement and code, your application won’t be applicable for patent protection.
If you have researched extensively and are positive about your application, i.e. your app is way quite an abstract idea, new, and non-obviousness, the next step would be filing an application.
How to file a patent application?
There is very critical information regarding filing a patent application. USPTO provides only 1 year to file a patent once your abstract idea is disclosed to the general public. The question now arises, which method to use i.e. provisional or non-provisional filing.
Provisional route of filing a patent is the simple and cheaper approach anybody can follow. This is the most suitable option for app development firms while starting the patent process.
However, technically filing a provisional application permits you to file an initial patent claim which would require a quick description regarding your app and if you could add flow charts, a diagram that would be a plus point, easy for the examiner to comprehend.
Filing a provisional application is essential for various reasons:
- It allows you to determine whether your application is worth contributing the time and money.
- Filing an application is way cheaper and simpler. It doesn’t confer you with actual patent rights.
- It allows you to assess whether or not your application would be a work successfully i.e. worthy to obtain a patent and can achieve success in the marketplace.
However, provisional applications aren’t eventually evaluated but it is considered a best practice to create your application as detailed as possible before filing a non-provisional one.
The benefit is that it grants you 12 months to review, redesign your application and perceive whether your app may be a market-fit or not? If it’s a yes, you’ll further proceed to file a non-provisional application.
Filling a Non-provisional Patent Application:
Filling a non-provisional patent application within 12 months of the provisional application would allow you to use the original date as the official date of applying for the non-provisional patent, failing which would result in you losing your provisional filing date. Saving a date is very critical because it certifies who would be the first one to file the patent. This can be a complicated process, time-consuming and expensive.
Requisites for Filing Non-provisional Application:
A thorough description or claims: A concise introduction about your application, what makes the application distinct from others within the market. It should include the title, background, methods, summary of the invention. The narrative must include the most efficient way to implement an application from scratch if anybody wishes to.
Drawings and flowcharts: A pictorial clarity would make your application easy to comprehend to an expert. It also provides the visibility to determine what usefulness your app is offering within the marketplace.
Declaration: It’s a manuscript that the inventor must sign asserting few rules to bear in mind for prior use.
Cost of Filing for Patent:
You can either file a patent all by yourself or take assistance from patent professionals in filing an application. It would then be reviewed by a USPTO-registered patent professional. The price range depends on USPTO rules. A small-time entity would need to pay less and contrariwise. The legal cost related to filing the patent application consists of:
- Provisional patent filing costs range between $2000 and $5000.
- Non-provisional costs range between $10000 and $15000.
In accordance with the USPTO rules and regulations, a maintenance fee is also going to be added in the period of 12 years of your app idea.
How much time does it require to patent an app?
Getting an app patented is a very complex process that could take from several months to many years. There are various attributes that patent granter has to bear in mind. Usually, it takes 4-5 years for a patent grant. You would also face several rejections but all that matters is your patience.
Patenting an app may require plenty of labor and effort but less effort in comparison to building an application. It is primarily a good idea to patent your invention, your intellectual idea. However, if you feel that your invention will have a brief lifespan or otherwise you are constrained on budget, a patent isn’t necessary. It’s difficult to come up with new ideas that haven’t already been developed but are not impossible.
Although if your application offers a valuable idea that is of high demand and value, then you ought to consider getting the patent. An attorney can help you to grasp the terms and conditions better, will review your idea, and will assist you through the patent filing process.