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How to get an App Patent
Nowadays, most people use mobile apps and have become a big business. As the popularity of mobile content overtakes the web content, the app industry is likely to become even greater. It’s not surprising that patenting apps is becoming a money-making venture for money for businesses. Apps can be patented since they are components of the methods of interaction. For instance, the process operating on a mobile phone connects to a remote server containing data that either keeps data or processes to be used. The code that runs the software, nonetheless, cannot be patented, but you can copyright. Before you patent an app, you must consider a few things to consider.
The App Must Meet USPTO
To get started, a developer must understand what constitutes a patent. The USPTO has a certain criterion it uses to determine eligibility for copyright. For, example, the body looks closely at whether the invention has ever been patented or published before. In case the app has been patented, then it might end all your options of patenting.
The USPTO advises beginning your patent search, brainstorm the keywords related to the purpose, use, and composition of the invention. Then can check them up in the Index to the U.S Patent Classification to get the potential clusters/sub-clusters, and then determine the relevancy of the categories by using the Classification Schedule in the Manual Classification.
You can also search patents in the USPTO Patent Full-Text and Image Database which included the full-text of copyrights given from 1976 to the current TIFF images for all patents. Also, the USPTO looks at whether your app uses any methods or processes for producing a useful, tangible, and concrete result patented previously, used, or published. If it does, then there is no patent for your future at least for a given app. However, remember that getting a patent does not prevent another firm from filing a lawsuit for infringement.
All these highlight the importance of carrying out a search beforehand. Additionally, just until recently, the USPTO used the first-to-invent procedure to determine who among the applicants with a similar invention should get the patent. Nowadays, it uses the first-to-file rule, which means that the inventor that files first, get the patent. Therefore, if you have an invention that is worth of patenting, don’t procrastinate on your filing or search.
Choosing a Patent App
Since it can take some time to develop an invention, most app developers choose to file a provisional patent application. The process is a basic utility patent application to secure a filing date. The provisional patent application is less costly than the provisional application. It requires you to give a comprehensive description of the invention, and may be accompanied by flow charts and drawings that explain how the app works.
It takes a period of twelve months for the provisional patent application to expire which gives you quality time to know whether the product will successful. If it is, the inventor can proceed and file a non-provisional patent application that begins the evaluation process at the USPTO.
Filing the non-provisional patent application within a year of the provisional filing date makes sure that the date of the patent remains as the official filing date of the application. By so doing, the provisional filing date is used to decide the first person to file.
Read our Previous post “How Much Does a Mobile App Patent Cost?
Considering Open-Source and Patents
Most apps developers prefer distributing their apps through an open-source license, whether they obtain a patent or not. Open- source licensing is the process through which developers make a certain source design or code; for instance, available for use by others under specified conditions and terms. The key difference is that without a patent, the developer will lose control over what apps are supplied through open-source licensing. In simple terms, another inventor can modify and resell your app without giving your cash or credit.
At the end of the day, this is just a business, and the issues are similar. For a small startup or an individual the expenses associated with getting a patent can be quite prohibitive. They outweigh any long-term financial gains from the invention. In fact with all the available apps available on the market today, it may be hard to come up with one app that is yet to be developed.