No matter whаt kind оf invеntiоn уоu are looking tо produce, protecting уоur intellectual рrореrtу iѕ an important аnd necessary раrt of thе рrосеѕѕ.
No matter what kind of invention you are looking to produce, protecting your intellectual property is an important and necessary part of the process.
Even for ideas that aren’t tangible products (like apps or services), seeking out protection can help to make sure you have the rights to your original idea. This way, you can avoid getting drowned out by competition before you even get started.
What Kind of Patent Should You Look Into?
Patenting an app is essentially patenting software, so the process will be very similar to other digital inventions and ideas that don’t fall into the “hardware” category.
Once you’ve determined that the app is novel, non-obvious and has utility, you are ready to start the process.
The ideal thing to do is seek out a patent attorney who can help you through the more complex and detailed parts of the process of patenting an app. That said, since you are essentially patenting the function and use of the app, a utility patent is a specific type that you should look into.
It’s important to remember here that it isn’t the code of the app you will be seeking a patent for but the use of it since that is the ultimate idea that people would attempt to replicate.
Assuming you’ve already done your homework and researched other potentially similar apps to make sure your idea is truly unique and novel, you can file your software app patent through the help of an experienced patent attorney.
The reason you should consider getting a patent attorney no matter how sure you are of what you want to do is that they know all of the smaller details that can be easy for someone without a law degree to overlook or simply not know about.
Filing a patent properly is crucial to the process, and it will pay off when you have your securely patented idea and are ready to take it to market.
What is Special About Apps?
In addition to asking yourself whether your invention is novel, is non-obvious and has utility, you also need to determine the eligibility.
The key question here is, “What is going on beyond simple human activity?” In other words, what is happening beyond standard activity and use that makes the invention eligible for a patent?
An example of an invention that was deemed ineligible is a banking transaction app shot down by the supreme court because essentially it proposed the importing and exchanging of money in different currencies. This was just a replication of calculations that we’ve always done.
An app should put together more than one piece of data and provide a function for it to be eligible. Whether it’s a way to organize calendars or help videos play faster, you simply need to make sure it is eligible by providing a function.
Patenting and IP Law on a Global Scale
IP law is inherent in every business, regardless of what they do or where they are located. This is because every individual or group that is providing a service or product has their unique qualities that are worth protecting on a global scale.
Whether this is in the agricultural industry, tech industry or any niche area of the market, it is going to involve intellectual property. Oftentimes this will involve patents, but it could also involve things like trademarks, copyrights or trade secrets.
African businesses specifically are proving to be significant candidates for IP protection. Many innovations have been shaping Africa’s future and bringing African entrepreneurs to the table on a global scale, boosting economies and solving a range of social issues.
By making sure that IP protection like patenting is a part of those endeavors, it gives equal opportunity and access to virtually any industry on a worldwide level, erasing the need to physically be in industry capitals like Silicon Valley or New York City.
IP law makes the world market a lot smaller, and this gives entrepreneurs everywhere an opportunity to compete in the market and see their ideas reach their full potential.
Though it may not be as physical or tangible as other inventions, apps are just as valid in the discussion around patents and IP law in general.
If you have a novel, non-obvious app idea with utility and functions that qualify for patent protection, it is absolutely critical that you look into that protection before releasing your app so that you can retain the rights to its unique brilliance.