A record 204 billion apps were downloaded in 2019, generating over 120 billion in sales from subscriptions and other in-app purchases. If you’re looking to capitalize on this fast-growing market, you’ll want to protect your investment and work product.
For tech companies that base their business on proprietary software, patents are an invaluable asset that will distinguish them from their competitors and provide legal protections from infringement and misappropriation.
Since an app isn’t a tangible product you can hold, you’ll need to protect the design, key features, and processes that give the app its unique functionality. This article will tell you everything you need to know about getting a patent for a mobile app.
Can You Patent Your Mobile App?
Patenting software-implemented inventions, such as mobile apps, is about patenting the process that the software performs, rather than focusing on the underlying code. While you can’t patent the code; you can protect it with a copyright.
In regard to patenting software related innovations, here’s a two part test you can use to help you determine if it may be patent eligible:
- Is it an abstract idea, general principle, or method of computation?
- Does it contain something innovative and novel?
You can also feel free to schedule a free call with one of our experienced IP attorneys. We’ll be happed to discuss your mobile app in confidence and guide you in the right direction.
How Much Does It Cost To Patent An App?
In terms of legal counsel, you can expect to pay somewhere between 10K-20K for the preparation of your non-provisional patent application depending on several factors like the law firm you choose and the complexity of application. At The Rapacke Law Group, our team of attorneys focus on software and mobile app patents and offer patent filing services for a transparent flat-fee.
Patent applications are highly complex, especially when pertaining to software related inventions. Filing a meaningful patent application that will provide the comprehensive protections needed requires extensive knowledge in patent law and the patent filing process.
We also recommend that you conduct a prior art search to confirm that your invention is patentable subject matter. Your attorneys will then prepare a patent application to provide the broadest protection possible while minimizing the risk of receiving an office action rejection.
Provisional Patents for Mobile Apps?
The U.S. patent system is a first to file system. If you wait to file your patent application, then you risk being placed in the back of the line while somebody files ahead of you.
If your mobile app is still in development, but you want to establish your filing date while you finalize your invention, then you can submit a provisional patent. You have one year from your provisional filing date to convert your application into a non-provisional application, while still maintaining your earlier filed priority date.
Mobile App Patent Examples
Mobile app patents can be for an entire system or a novel feature or functionality.
Here are some notable mobile app patent examples:
Passporting Credentials Between a Mobile App and a Web Browser
One of the more recently approved patent applications outlines how a mobile app and a URL can communicate credentials to create a smooth transition for the user. This eliminates the need to re-login and simplifies the user’s experience when transitioning between a website and app.
Remote Virtualization of Mobile Apps
This recently granted patent application outlines how a mobile app uses a remote system and process to display the app on a mobile device. The app uses an external host server, but the user experience is equivalent to the app being natively installed on the mobile device.
Is It Worth Getting a Patent for an App?
If your mobile app has key features that give you a competitive edge, you should strongly consider pursuing patent protection. Once your app is published and available to the public, it’s only a matter of time before a competitor copies your work. Securing a patent will give you legal recourse if a competitor steals your patented features or functionality and integrates them in to their mobile app or software.
Start the Patent Process for Your App
If you have a mobile app that you’re currently developing or improving, now is the time to consider filing a patent application. Our law firm can assist you with prior-art searches, provisional and non-provisional patent applications. The Rapacke Law Group and partnered with PayPal Credit to offers interest free financing for all patent matters.
Schedule a free consultation today, and let’s discuss the development and protection of your mobile app and intellectual property.