Patenting Mobile Apps: How & Why

Patent Copy

Can You Patent Your Mobile App?

Introduction

Smartphones have become central to our daily lives. Mobile apps, spanning from commerce to healthcare, offer diverse solutions to various client problems. Among the inquiries flooding inventors’ desks is the possibility of patenting mobile apps. Yes, it’s feasible, given your invention meets the conditions set by the patent office in your country, allowing software inventions to be patented.

Defining a Mobile App

A mobile app is a software program operating on devices like smartphones or tablets. These versatile tools serve multiple purposes—communication, entertainment, education, and business. They provide access to information and services beyond the device’s native operating system, developed using various programming languages and tools.

Understanding the Patent Process

Applying for a patent involves a structured process. It requires completing specific forms and submitting them to the relevant patent office (e.g., Indian Patent Office, US Patent and Trademark Office, European Patent Office). This legal procedure safeguards your intellectual property by detailing your invention comprehensively. Information such as the invention’s name, description, functionality, and supporting visuals are crucial. The patent office reviews these submissions to determine eligibility.

Qualifying for App Patents

Patenting a mobile app is intricate. Innovation is key—if your app incorporates novel technology, you might qualify. However, if it’s a refined version of an existing operation, securing a patent might be challenging. Additionally, modifications post-patenting may not necessarily extend the original patent’s coverage. Unique app features determine patent eligibility; for instance, a payment system within an app could qualify.

Criteria for Patent Approval

To patent an app, it must be original, useful, and not currently available. Innovative interfaces or data visualization methods can strengthen the case for patent approval. Furthermore, it shouldn’t be based on an existing invention. While software patents vary globally, countries like India evaluate them on a case-by-case basis. However, patenting an app doesn’t guarantee commercial success. A high-quality, user-friendly, innovative app is essential for success.

Conclusion

In conclusion, yes, you can patent your mobile app. But before filing for a patent, several crucial factors demand attention. Understanding that a patent covers the invention itself, not merely its features, is vital. Detailed information about the app’s features and functionality is a must in your patent application. Patents take time and need comprehensive coverage of potential developments or additions to the app. Consulting a patent attorney regarding software patentability in your country is advisable. Lastly, as mobile apps evolve, consider applying for new patents as features or technologies develop.