As with trademarks and copyrights, a patent is a form of intellectual property. Let’s take a deeper look at how to patent an idea for an app and to determine if obtaining one is the best course of action for your app design:
Patent: A Definition
A patent is defined as ‘intellectual property right granted by the U.S. government to an inventor of a product.” A patent therefore prevents others from creating, using or selling the same idea or app.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office created three types of patents: design, utility, and plant. Utility patents are awarded to “anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof,” according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The office defines design patents as “granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture,” while plant patents are “granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.”
Patents provide the owner with exclusive rights to an app for up to 20 years. It takes an average of 22 months to receive patent approval.
Protecting Your Patent
Applying for a patent requires drafting and submitting a detailed description of your app to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The office and intellectual lawyers alike will tell you the more detailed your description, the better. A working knowledge of patent law is recommended when filing, and many hire a patent lawyer for this reason. He or she helps ensure your application is submitted correctly with all necessary information, and defends you should your patent rights be violated.
Provisional patents are another option for app design help, as they function as a lower-cost first patent filing. Most commonly used by designers still in the process of creating, provisional patents last 12 months and cannot be extended. A provisional patent application is simpler than a regular patent application, but you must file the latter within the 12-month time frame. The term “patent pending” refers to provisional patents.
Contact Zapporoo.com for all your app design and app patent needs.