If you have an innovative mobile app idea and want to protect it from being copied by others,
you may consider filing for a patent.
A patent is a form of intellectual property that provides legal protection to inventors for their
new and useful inventions, such as a mobile app idea. With a patent, the inventor has the
exclusive right to prevent others from making, using, selling, and importing the invention for a
certain period of time. This can be an important asset for a business, as it can help to prevent
competitors from copying the app idea and entering the market and can also increase the
value of the business by protecting its intellectual property.
A patent provides legal protection for your invention, allowing you to exclude others from
making, using, selling, and importing your invention for a certain period of time.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to patent your mobile app idea:
1. Conduct a patent search: Before filing for a patent, it is important to make sure that
your mobile app idea is novel and not already patented. You can search the US Patent
and Trademark Office (USPTO) database or hire a professional patent search firm to
conduct a search for you.
2. Determine the type of patent: There are three types of patents: utility patents, design
patents, and plant patents. A utility patent covers new and useful processes, machines,
articles of manufacture, and compositions of matter. A design patent covers new,
original, and ornamental designs for an article of manufacture. A plant patent covers
new and distinct varieties of plants that are asexually reproduced.
3. Hire a patent attorney: Filing for a patent can be a complex and lengthy process, so it
is recommended to hire a patent attorney to help you with the application process. A
patent attorney can advise you on the type of patent to file, conduct a thorough patent
search, and prepare and file the patent application on your behalf.
4. Prepare the patent application: The patent application includes a written description
of the invention, drawings, and claims that define the scope of the invention. The
description should be clear and concise, and the drawings should illustrate the
invention in detail. The claims should be written in a specific format that defines the
boundaries of the invention.
5. File the patent application: Once the patent application is prepared, it can be filed with
the USPTO. The filing fee varies depending on the type of patent and the size of the
entity filing the application.
6. Respond to office actions: After the patent application is filed, the USPTO will conduct
a review and issue an office action. An office action is a formal letter from the USPTO
that communicates any issues or objections with the patent application. You will have
the opportunity to respond to the office’s action and make any necessary amendments
to the patent application.
7. Prosecute the patent application: Prosecuting a patent application involves working
with the USPTO to resolve any issues or objections and ultimately obtain a granted
patent. This process can take several years and may involve multiple office actions
and amendments to the patent application.
8. Maintain the patent: Once the patent is granted, it is important to maintain it by paying
maintenance fees and enforcing the patent against infringers.
There are several types of patent applications that can be filed with the United States Patent
and Trademark Office (USPTO), depending on the type of invention and the stage of
development. The following are the most common types of patent applications:
✔ Utility Patent Application: A utility patent application is the most common type of
patent application and is used to protect new and useful processes, machines, articles
of manufacture, and compositions of matter. This type of application requires a
detailed written description of the invention, including any drawings or diagrams, as
well as a set of claims that define the scope of the invention.
✔ Provisional Patent Application: A provisional patent application is a temporary
placeholder that establishes an early filing date for a utility patent application. This
type of application does not require the same level of detail as a utility patent
application, but it must still include a written description of the invention and any
drawings or diagrams.
✔ Design Patent Application: A design patent application is used to protect new, original,
and ornamental designs for an article of manufacture. This type of application requires
detailed drawings or photographs of the design, but does not require a written
description or claims.
✔ Plant Patent Application: A plant patent application is used to protect new and distinct
varieties of plants that are asexually reproduced. This type of application requires a
detailed written description of the plant, including any drawings or photographs, as
well as a set of claims that define the scope of the plant variety.
✔ PCT Application: A PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) application is an international
patent application that allows inventors to file a single application in multiple
countries. This type of application does not result in a granted patent, but rather
provides a basis for filing national or regional patent applications in each country of
While patents can provide valuable legal protection for mobile app ideas, they are not always
the best or only option for protecting intellectual property. Here are some alternatives to app
✔ Trade secrets: A trade secret is confidential information that provides a business with
a competitive advantage, such as customer lists, pricing information, or manufacturing
processes. Unlike patents, trade secrets do not expire, and there is no registration
process required. However, trade secrets require strict confidentiality and can be
difficult to enforce if they are stolen or disclosed.
✔ Copyrights: A copyright is a form of intellectual property that protects original works
of authorship, such as software code, design elements, and user interfaces.
Copyrights provide automatic protection without the need for registration, and they can
last for the life of the author plus 70 years. However, copyrights only protect the
expression of an idea, not the idea itself.
✔ Trademarks: A trademark is a symbol, word, or phrase that identifies and distinguishes
the source of goods or services. Trademarks can include app names, logos, and
slogans. Trademarks can provide protection against confusion in the marketplace, but
they do not prevent others from making similar products or services.
✔ Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs): NDAs are legal contracts that require parties to
keep certain information confidential. NDAs can be used to protect trade secrets and
other confidential information related to an app idea. However, NDAs can be difficult
to enforce, and they may not provide sufficient protection against competitors.
Ultimately, the best approach to protecting an app idea will depend on the specific
circumstances of the invention and the business. It is important to consult with an intellectual
property attorney to determine the most appropriate strategy for your app idea.