When you create something inventive and new, you want to make sure your product is protected. Mobile app software is patentable, but that does not always mean that your app can be patented or that they are worth patenting. This article discusses the requirements for obtaining a patent for your mobile app, and the factors to consider in deciding whether it is actually worth it to patent a mobile app.
You not only have to make sure that your product meets the requirements to obtain a patent, but you also need to think about whether it is going to benefit your business and help you achieve your objectives.
What do I need to do to patent a mobile app?
First of all, you need to know that you can’t patent an idea. So if your mobile app is only at the conceptual stage, you will not be able to patent it. To get a patent, you must have actually developed the product, not just in theory.
Secondly, the product must be new. That is, it must be something that has not been seen or used in the industry before. It must also be capable of being used in the industry. For software, it means that the actual software has an application in the industry and is not just used for solving a mathematical problem.
To obtain a standard patent, you must show that there is an inventive step involved in your product, and to get an innovative patent, the step must be innovative.
Is it worth it?
The process of patenting takes many months or even years, and can cost thousands of dollars. This does not mean that it is not worth it. Spending the money on securing a patent has definitely proved to be commercially effective in the long run. However, with the technology market being so dynamic and with so many apps being created daily, it does warrant the question of whether it is worth it to patent a mobile app. You need to recognise that mobile app software can become outdated very quickly, and to get protection over a process that will be replaced very soon will not be cost-effective.
Here are some helpful considerations to think through:
- The reasons for wanting a patent
- The commercial benefit to you of having a patent and whether the patent would add value to the product or your business
- The cost and timeline of getting the patent compared to your business plan for developing and launching the app
- Whether a patent is the form of protection best suited, as opposed to a trademark for your app name or logo
- The effects of a patent in relation to your business objectives and strategies
Patenting is a complex area of law, and it can be difficult to understand whether your invention is patentable and whether it is worth patenting. It is best to speak to an IP expert who can give you advice about whether you can and should patent your product.