Mobile App

Guide on How to Patent an App Idea in 2023?

November 23, 2022

If you have an app idea, you may be wondering how to patent the app idea. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about patenting app idea, from the initial search to filing a patent application.

Do you have a unique application idea in your head? Do you worry someone could steal your idea? Intellectual property laws protect mobile app concepts, especially trademark, patent, and copyright laws. Many start-ups and business owners are convinced to patent their app concepts to keep others from creating, using, or selling them.

What Does It Means to Patent a Mobile App Idea?

Patents are a type that is a law governing intellectual property. It protects the use of your idea exploited without your permission. It grants you the right to be the sole owner of your idea and prevents other people from selling or developing your ideas.

Let's consider the mobile application patent case of the Apple Company that was sought against Microsoft in 1994. Apple asserted that Microsoft stole its graphic user interface (GUI) concept from the earlier Lisa and Macintosh operating systems. The problem is that Apple needed to acquire patents for its concept, which led it to choose to go with Microsoft.

What are the Different Types of Patents for Applications?

Some of the most popular options for patenting are discussed below:

Provisional Patent Application

A provisional application patent is filed when an invention is in research and development. It is also known as a preliminary patent application for gaining the right to claim priority while filing in the patent form.

Non-Provisional Patent

Non-provisional applications are an application type that is submitted to the USPTO. The USPTO will only examine an application for a non-provisional patent once it has received the filing fee and an appropriately completed cover sheet. A specification and claims must accompany non-provisional patent applications. The specification must contain an explanation in writing of the invention and at least one drawing, which is optional.

The claims should define the nature that the invention is covered by. A non-provisional patent application is usually submitted after an inventor conducts an initial patent search to determine if the invention is unique or not well-known. After applying for a patent that is not provisional is usually given to an examiner, who will perform an exhaustive patent search procedure and decide whether or not to provide the patent.

Patent of Addition

It's applicable if you find yourself in the possibility that the patent you're seeking is a minor alteration of an already patentable idea.

Divisional Application

This permits applicants to split applications into multiple completed applications if the claim has been filed for more than one invention, with the same deadlines for submission as stated previously.

How to Know if Your App Idea is Eligible for Patenting?

Below are some significant factors that determine whether your app idea is eligible for patenting or not.

  1. App Idea Should Be Unique and New
  2. Must Be Useful
  3. Must Be an Invention

Steps to Patent Your Mobile App Idea

To learn how to patent a mobile app idea, you must first meet all the criteria for admissibility. After being approved, you can then follow the steps below for patenting ideas regarding the application:

Discover and Register with a Patent Lawyer

To submit a perfectly designed high-quality patent and increase the scope of the accepted patent application, you should contact and engage an attorney familiar with patenting software. The lawyer must be proficient in this. Do thorough research and find the best fit for your needs and budget.

What Kind of Patent do you Need?

When people think of patents when they think of patents, they typically imagine a utility patent. The utility patent is by far the most commonly used kind of patent. It is granted to inventions that are innovative and beneficial. Patents granted to utility patents are for processes, products, and equipment. Design patents are different kinds of patents, and they are granted for distinctive designs.

Design patents may be granted to the design of an item or process or equipment. The process for patents is similar to utility and design patents.

Get in Touch with Software Patent Attorney

To allow your patent application to get accepted, you must have a properly-written document that can cover all requirements and conditions for the patent. To accomplish this, you should employ a software patent attorney with experience in the field of patent-related ideas. 

File a Provisional or Non-Provisional Patent Application

Provisional and Non-Provisional Patent Applications are two kinds that you can use to create a patent application for your mobile application.

In a provisional application, you can file your application without requiring a formal declaration, patent claim, or data disclosure statement. This type of application has advantages:

  • It allows you to use the phrase 'Patent Pending' within an application.
  • It takes into account 12 months when developing the MVP.
  • It's less expensive to make than non-provisional applications.

In non-provisional applications, it is possible to apply without a claim based on the application filed in the nation of the convention or without an application reference in the process. An exhaustive claim and specification must accompany the application. It should include the invention's written description and an assertion that defines an invention's legality.

For deciding between provisional and non-provisional applications, be aware of the following:

  • How long do you wish to put off the cost of patents?
  • How fast do you want your patent to be granted?

If your requirement is linked to the above-mentioned second point, non-provisional is the most suitable choice. If the first is the case, then apply for a provisional one.

Submit Your Patent Application

This is the final step for patenting your app idea. After completing the steps above successfully and completing a Patent application, you must submit it to the USPTO.

Even though it's a long and tedious process that requires a lot of paperwork, it's essential to look into it. Some important documents that you might need to complete this process are:

  • Specification
  • Declaration or Oath
  • Data Disclosure Statement
  • Entity Status Form
  • Claims
  • Application Data Sheet
  • Drawings
  • Patent Cooperation Treaty 
  • Cover Sheet
  • Fee Sheet
  • Application to Make Special (Optional)

How Much Does It Cost You to Patent an App?

Now,  as you are familiar with all the crucial steps about how can you patent an idea, the next thing that needs to be considered is cost. The registration cost of patents is based on the various categories by the USPTO and the creation of mobile apps. You should consider understanding the classification that your mobile app concept can pass through. The costs for the basic application are according to:

  • Patent Review fee: $180-700
  • The cost for filing in the elementary category is $70-$280+
  • Patent search fee: $150-600

Each year you must pay for the basic maintenance expenses like:

  • Year 4: $800-$1,600
  • Year 8: $900-$3,600
  • Year 12: $1,850-$7,400

A non-provisional patent may cost between $15,000 and $15,0000. For comparison, the price of an application for a provisional patent will likely be between $2,000 and $7000, depending on the idea behind your application. Reapplications can range from $5,000 to $15,000.

The Key Takeaway

The process for filing a patent application is challenging, so it is crucial to employ an experienced software patent attorney to assist you in navigating the procedure. When you partner with a mobile-friendly app development company, you'll be able to ensure that your concept is protected. You'll enjoy the benefits of your efforts.