How to Patent An App Idea: Beginners Guide

Learn how to protect your app idea with a patent by following our comprehensive beginner's guide.

May 02, 2023

From conducting a patent search to filing your application, we provide a step-by-step process for successfully patenting your app idea. Don't let your innovative idea go to waste - start patenting your app today!

The application industry has become quite competitive, and you need a disruptive application to turn people’s heads, optimize conversion, and attract new customers. Even if you come up with an original idea, can someone steal it? The answer is yes, and if you don’t take the necessary measures to protect your idea, it might get stolen. Another question that might be playing in your head is, can you patent an app idea? The simple answer is Yes. 

Patenting your application before the launch is an excellent way to protect your project and prevent someone else from replicating your idea. 

What is A Patent?

A patent is a form of intellectual property that gives the person who holds the exclusive right to prevent others from making, using, selling, and importing an investor for a certain number of years. Patents are backed by the government and provide a way for inventors to protect their innovation and to make money from licensing or selling their patents to others. The most popular registered patent in the world is by Steve Jobs and three employees from Apple who patented personal computers back in 1980. 

Steps to Patent An App Idea

  1. Conduct Patent Research

Before you invest the time and resources into patenting your app, it’s important to conduct a thorough search to make sure that your idea is truly unique and not already patented by someone else. The main purpose of patent research is to find existing patents and published patented applications that are similar to your app idea. This can give you an insight into what patents are already approved and what are in the process. If you are in the US, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the best place to begin your research. 

If you think it’s a lengthy process and you don’t have time, you can hire an experienced lawyer who specializes in intellectual property. 

  1. Find An Attorney That Has Experience With Software Patent

As I mentioned in the first point, lawyers are a good way to go about your business when you want your application to be patented. You must consult with someone who specialises in intellectual property. You might not be aware of the legal aspects and process. 

That does not mean your first step should be to hire a lawyer. Conduct online research and try to get as much information as you can. Look for lawyers that fit your budget and choose wisely.

  1. Propose And File A Patent Application 

A patent application is a document that describes your invention and how it works. It is a legal document that must meet a certain threshold set by the patent office. The patent application includes an in-depth written description of your invention. It should describe how your app function and how is it different from pre-existing applications. Furthermore, it should include a list of the app’s features, diagrams, drawings, and other forms of illustration to help the patent officer understand your innovation. 

The patent application must be clear, concise, and detailed manner. Additionally, it should also include one or more claims, which define the scope of the protection sought by the patent. 

You may need to submit additional documents and information while submitting your application. Be prepared with all the information and documents regarding your invention to reduce unnecessary trouble. 

  1. Wait For Your Application To Be Reviewed

After you file your patent application, it’s waiting game. Your application will be assigned to a patent examiner who will review your application to the full extent and reviews it to ensure it meets the criteria and your innovation is totally out of the box. The review process might take a long period of time. Depending on the backlog of your application, it might take somewhere between five months to twenty-two months. 

  1. Respond To Any Objections

After filing a patent application, the examiner reviews all your documents and description. If the examiner finds any issues or requires additional information, you need to address them before you are granted a patent. These issues are called “objectives” or “office actions” and they will be communicated to you via an official letter from the patent office. 

Some issues from the patent office are minor that require basic clarifications or requests to change your claim in a certain way. You need to obtain the necessary documents and information to address the patent examiner’s concern. It’s important that you respond in a timely manner. This is where the attorney will come in handy. He/She will guide you promptly to make adjustments and respond to your objection. 

  1. Obtain The Patent

After all your hard work and dedication, it’s time to celebrate. This final process signifies that your patent application has been reviewed, approved, and granted exclusive rights to the invention for a certain period of time.  After approval, you will receive an official document called a “patent grant” that includes a copy of your claims, drawings, and important information about your idea. The patent grant document includes the issue date, expiration date, and the number of the patent. 

Once you receive the patent, you have the right to exclude others from making, selling, or using your application without your consent. The patent usually lasts for 20 years.  With your patent in hand, you can commercialize your application, license it to others, and even sell it to someone. 

Don’t forget to pay the maintenance fee. It is important you monitor everything in your surrounding to see that your application has not been infringed on. 

Summing up, patents are a great way to protect your innovation and commercialize them. You need to document your application accordingly to apply for a patent and you must have the patience to play the long game. The patent will give you a license to promote and commercialize your application.