Have a great idea for an app? Don’t wait for a patent.  Application development takes a long time, from a few months to even a year or two. During this long period of time, several people interact with your idea, and the possibility of misuse cannot be excluded.  Although patents require a lot of work, they are also necessary if you want to protect your application from copycats in the market. The app economy is constantly growing and competition is tougher than ever. Time to market is a key factor for high returns and average returns. Even if your app is original and better, a copycat who steals your idea and publishes before you will take a large part of your download and potential income.  If you want to patent your software idea, you’re probably swimming in questions right now. You’ve probably heard that software is not patentable. So how do you patent an idea? How much does it cost? How to proceed and what if your idea has already been patented by someone else? These are all important questions, and we will answer them all today.  So what does it take to patent your app? Let’s talk about it. Mobile application development is a dynamic and ever-evolving field that requires both creativity and technical knowledge to create user-friendly and innovative applications.  

    Should you patent your app?

    There are several good reasons why you should patent your app idea. First, it prevents clones of your app from entering the market before or shortly after you publish your app and stealing your downloads. Second, and more importantly, have you heard about the ugly patent infringement lawsuits and the crazy amounts developers have been charged for it? Getting into legal trouble alone can cost small developers their business. Applying for a patent gives developers proof that they were the first to apply and thus are the legal owners of the innovation. If your idea falls into the wrong hands of someone powerful, they will steal your intellectual property and make you pay for it. Applying for a patent establishes a timeline that can prove you actually own the invention if you go to court. 

    Can applications be patented?

    Yes, but it’s important to understand what that means.  

    You cannot patent your application code. The code itself falls under the category of copyright law. 

    But the application as a whole belongs to the “method” or “process” category. Methods and processes as well as machines, production products and compositions of substances can be patented.  The title, icons, logos and other parts of the application design may be protected by trademark or copyright. You can seriously learn more about it here. 

    Is your application patent eligible?

    The fact that applications are usually patentable does not necessarily mean that your application is patentable.  First, you need to determine if anyone else has patented the same type of application. The USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) recommends conducting a patent search before applying for a patent (more on that later). Remember to look for keywords related to the topic, especially those that are central to the program’s function.  Remember that even if your patent is approved, you can still be sued for patent infringement. The USPTO tries to determine whether your patent infringes other patents, but it does not guarantee that it does not.  Furthermore, it is important to understand that “ideas” cannot simply be patented. The patent must describe exactly how the application works.  Things you cannot patent include mathematical formulas and natural laws, inventions that violate the laws of physics, and things that can only be achieved with the human body. Your application must be “new”. This means that it must be different from all previous inventions in at least one aspect. This difference must have an indirect effect. Although it is probably obvious, something that is already on the market or someone else’s published method cannot be patented either.  Your application must also be “non-obvious”. This patent limitation is the most difficult to understand or influence. Saying its “non-obvious” means that an expert in your field would still see it as an unexpected development. This is somewhat subjective and can cause a lot of frustration between you and the patent examiner. Creative mobile apps are like digital canvases where innovative ideas blend with intuitive design to provide users with exciting and unique experiences.

    Finally, your patent must be “profitable”. That doesn’t mean your app can’t exist just for entertainment or something like that. Instead, it means that your program should work, at least in theory. It’s a limitation that prevents people from patenting things like “baldness reversal cream” without knowing anything about biochemistry. This requires you to develop a very specific and detailed explanation of how your application works, rather than claiming ownership of a program that performs some general task without knowing how. Remember that your application must be truly new to be covered by patent law. No Candy Crush clones!  

    Patent search – how to find out if someone has already patented your idea

    It can be a shame to find out that someone else has already patented your valuable idea. However, knowing is crucial to avoid costly patent infringement lawsuits later. So doing a patent search is important, and thanks to the openness of the USPTO, it’s also easy. You can simply log on to the USPTO website and use their “full text and image database” to enter appropriate keywords and search for all patents filed. Be sure to try multiple keywords.

    What if your idea is already patented?

    If a patent search reveals that your idea has already been patented by someone else, don’t be discouraged. Study the patent carefully and think about how you can differentiate your application from the old patent. As we said before, you don’t have to give up on your idea just because someone else has it. You can always innovate and change to make everything new and better. 

    How much does it cost to patent an application

    An app patent can cost you as little as $900 for an app you create yourself, or up to $10,000 if you choose to work with experienced attorneys. In theory, you can get a form and file a handmade provisional patent application for only about $65. However, proper legal channels range from $5,000 to $9,000, plus mandatory fees and charges. So yes, patents aren’t exactly cheap, but when you think about the long-term commitment, your app can make hundreds of thousands, even millions, and patent fees are an investment in security. Mobile app developers are the architects of the digital world, using their coding skills to turn ideas into functional, user-friendly apps that shape our daily lives.  

    The process of patenting an application

    1. Filing of a preliminary patent application 

    With the original patent application, you can confirm the date of the patent application. Most software developers do this first because it is cheaper than filing a non-provisional patent and does not require any additional effort to file a formal claim.   This application still requires a very detailed description of your application, and it is best to include illustrations, flowcharts and other images to clarify any confusion later.  Provisional patent applications allow you to file an early application without having to invest all the resources necessary to complete the application. A one-year patent application gives you time to find out if your application is successful.  Securing a patent filing date is important because it determines who will “file first” if the case ever goes to court.   If you’re an individual, university, non-profit or company with fewer than 500 employees, you can register as a “small entity” for $130. If you are larger, you will need to register as a large company for $260. 

    1. File a standard patent application within 1 year

    You must apply for a regular patent within one year of applying for a provisional patent. If you do not, you will lose your application.  Your standard patent application begins an examination process to determine whether you will receive an actual patent for your application.  Your patent application is divided into:-  

    1. Specification  
    2. Claims  
    3. An abstract  
    4. Drawings  

    You should know that the patent examiner will almost certainly not approve your patent in the first round. The process usually takes 1-3 years. 

    Let’s break down all the parts of the patent application. 


    The specification explains how your application is different from all others on the market. The specifications should be clear enough that anyone in the industry can build your application from scratch without additional input from you. It must also state the “best way” to file your application, because you could lose your patent rights if you fail to do a better way.  The breach consists of:   Title: Although short, it should be very specific and descriptive.   Background: This should specify the context of the invention, including any relevant theories and previous inventions. It should also explain how your application differs from any previous invention. Summary: Provide an overview of your application and how it solves the problems identified in the “Background” section.   Description: The description of your app should be comprehensive enough for anyone competent in the industry to copy your app. 


    This is probably the most important part of the program, and probably the part that causes the most controversy.  In this section, you must be very clear about which parts of the program you claim legal ownership of. You can never claim ownership of everything because certain parts of it are not patented or may even be covered by someone else’s patent. 


    If your patent uses a visual interface, you will almost certainly need to include graphics and visual representations of the application. Look at the approved patents to find out what is the standard in your market.  Patent application there are two options for archiving. You can submit the patent or application electronically.  

    Filing electronically is not as convenient as it sounds, and if you plan to apply for a patent only once, you may find that sending your patent by mail can be easier. If you file by mail, be sure to make copies of the patent application before sending. Include the date the application was submitted, the name of the application and your name. Insert a self-addressed postcard to receive a receipt. Be sure to include a list of all documents, page numbers and the number of pages included to account for lost items. 


    As you can see, patents are a lot of work.  Should you patent your app? If you think it deserves “invention” status, I think you should at least try. At Linkitsoft While the process is complicated, it’s far less painful than dealing with clone apps that steal your business or an unfair infringement lawsuit that gets you kicked out, and you should definitely work to protect your intellectual property rights.

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