Creating a mobile application requires a lot of hard work and dedication. After toiling over your idea, you want to ensure that no one infringes on your intellectual property by stealing it or using it for their benefit. Therefore, some app inventors may consider obtaining patent protection for their app. Is it worth going through the patent process? This article will help St. Petersburg entrepreneurs answer that question.
Are Apps Patentable?
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describes a utility patent as legal protection for a “new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.” Design and plant patents also exist, but app owners will likely only need to apply for a utility patent, which covers machines, chemicals, and processes.
To file for patent protection, your invention must meet USPTO guidelines. The most important criterion is that your invention is new. If another app similar to yours has been patented, your application may not be granted registration. Engage your intellectual property attorney to perform a comprehensive search of the USPTO database on your behalf. The USPTO abides by a “first-to-file” standard, meaning the inventor who files first gets the patent. Therefore, if you have an idea, don’t put off your patent application.
Another criterion is that your mobile app utilizes methods or processes to make a useful, concrete, or tangible result. This means the app must have clearly patentable features that are new and not obvious. If you are not sure whether this applies to your app, talk to an intellectual property attorney in St. Petersburg for advice.
The Benefits of Patent Protection for Mobile Apps
Primarily, the main benefit of patent protection for mobile apps is preventing the competition from copying and making money from your idea. By registering with the USPTO, you can then seek damages if anyone infringes on your intellectual property protections.
Provisional and Non-Provisional Applications
You can also file provisional applications that don’t require a formal claim, declaration, oath, nor any information disclosure statement. This is a good start for mobile apps because provisional applications give you a year to refine your idea. While it does not give you the rights that patenting your app would, you can use “patent pending” where applicable. You must file a Non-Provisional Application for a Patent within one year to maintain your original filing date (see the “first-to-file” standard mentioned previously).
Larson & Larson: Patent and Trademark Attorneys
Ultimately, only you can decide whether you should seek patent protection for your mobile app or not. If you want to research patents or discuss your idea with an intellectual property lawyer, trust the professionals at Larson and Larson. We have been helping clients in St. Petersburg and beyond for many years and have obtained hundreds of patents along the way. Call us today at (727) 546-0660 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.