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How to Protect Your Mobile App Ideas in 2023?

December 28, 2022 | Blog
Are you a genius app developer? Are you worried about your mobile app idea being stolen by other people? You can lose your app idea in seconds in this highly competitive world. Protect your app now!   You must be unique to survive in today's competitive world. Each day, more than 3700 apps are available on the Play Store and 800 on the App Shop.   Are you an app developer with an incredible idea? Many steps involve bringing your idea from an initial spark to reality. Technically, some of these steps can be skipped. Still, we offer suggestions if you want to protect your intellectual property and personal assets.   This is an excellent time to create an app. An average user uses 9 apps per day and 30 apps per month. There are many opportunities to create an app that is both useful and profitable.   You should still be able to protect your app idea. This could be a game, a program for fitness, or a budgeting tool. A good idea can quickly become someone else's and end up on Apple's or Google Play's App stores.   Let's get started!   mobile app idea

Tips to Protect Your App Ideas in 2023

  Millions of apps are downloaded each year. The app development market is currently at its peak, and many developers are working hard to create the next major apps. Entrepreneurs with brilliant app ideas need to develop them and protect them from theft.   Multiple entrepreneurs will inevitably have similar ideas for apps to meet user needs. You can take steps to protect your app idea throughout the development process.   Do you want to know how to protect an app idea? This article will provide tips on legally protecting an app idea for a company.  
  1. Copyright Your App

  Yes, getting the copyright for your mobile app is the best way to get legal rights.   A copyright can be used to protect both published and unpublished works. This means that you are the owner of something. Copyrights apply to both artistic content and tangible creations, such as:  
  • Songs
  • Books
  • Software code
  • Architectural plans
  Copyright laws do not protect an idea. But, if you begin writing code for an application, it is tangible and can be protected.   Copyright is different from a patent. Copyright protects only the expression of the idea, while patents protect the idea. Your copyright takes effect when your app idea is made tangible.  

How do you copyright an idea?

  All documentation required to support intellectual property claims should be available. Note the development phases, including the source code and the start dates.   Sometimes, you might need to work with developers and partners who are more experienced in creating apps. You must ensure that the contract clearly states that you are the owner of the code in this case. The developer could claim ownership and use your app idea if you don't.   It typically takes approximately. It takes approximately 3 months to register your copyright.  
  1. Form an LLC

  The first step is to create a company to protect your app idea. Although it may seem daunting, this is the easiest step in the entire process.   Each state has its requirements for forming an LLC. An application must be completed, a fee must be paid, and a registered agent must also be appointed.   Delaware offers more protections than other states for business incorporation. This is why Delaware is a popular choice for many companies.   Even if your company is small or you only have one app in development, it's worthwhile. This legally separates you from your business and personal assets, so you are protected.   What happens if you aren't a U.S. resident? Non-residents can form an LLC just as easily. To start an LLC, you don't have to move to the United States or have a U.S. residence address.  
  1. Patent

  Patents are a great way to confirm the authorship, exclusive rights, priority, and authorship of an invention, utility model, or design that protects an app idea. It is not legal to patent an app in certain countries. It's impossible to patent an application in Europe. However, patenting the code, design, and algorithms of an application in the USA and South Korea is possible.   It is important to note that patenting can be expensive and time-consuming. It might be worthwhile to skip this step if your application is still in development and generates no revenue.   How do you patent an idea for an app? Here's how:  
  • Locate and work with a Patent Lawyer
  • Disclosure of mobile application invention
  • Practice Patent Pursuit
  • You can apply for a patent, provisionally or non-provisionally
  • Send your application in
  Although it may seem difficult to get an app approved for a patent, it is not. It takes patience and time, as well as guidance from someone who is experienced in the field.  

1) Locate and Work with a Patent Lawyer

  Finding someone with experience in the field is the first step to getting your patent application approved. They will be able to guide you through the process.   You must hire an attorney to patent your idea and file a USPTO application. It will take time for your patent application review to be processed. This depends on the complexity of your idea and how many similar applications have been received in recent months.  

2) Disclosure of Mobile Application Invention

  You must complete this task; as they say, "having an idea is a job well done." Your invention must be realized. The court will require concrete evidence of your application and the work you have done to grant a patent. To be able to grant a patent, you must have a working knowledge of the documentation related to the development process.   To break down the flow, you can also create a prototype. ENOU Labs is the best agency for prototyping. This will help your attorney understand the flowchart of your application. Remember that patenting your app's functionality is more important than its code.  

3) Practice Patent Pursuit

  A patent attorney can search worldwide for applications to determine if any are similar to yours. A patent attorney can help you prevent any unanticipated infringement by other companies, even if you've done all your research.  

4) Request a Patent, Provisionally or Non-Provisionally

  You can file both provisional and non-provisional applications to patent your mobile app.   You can submit provisional applications if you don't want to wait for a patent. If you are looking for a quicker patent award, you can choose non-provisional.  

5) Submit Your Application 

  This is the last step in patenting an idea for an app. After completing all the steps above and creating a patent application, you will need to file it with USPTO.   During the process, you might need these important documents:  
  1. Application Data Sheet (ADS).
  2. Drawings
  3. Fee Sheet
  4. Optional: Patent Cooperation Treaty (for International Filings).
  5. Specification
  6. Information Disclosure Statement
  7. Claims
  8. Oath/Declaration
 
  1. Sign an NDA To Protect Ideas

  A non-disclosure agreement (also known as an NDA) is one of the best ways to protect intellectual property. This contract is between you and the app development company. It declares that all information shared during a project is confidential and cannot be disclosed.   To get the best results, your vision must be openly expressed to developers. If you are worried about losing your vision, it is unlikely that it will be effectively expressed.   An NDA (National Data Protection Agreement) is a legal agreement that ensures the confidentiality of information between two parties. After signing an NDA, you can communicate your ideas to the developer or partner in the development and work towards your goals.   Most professional teams don't have problems signing NDAs. The most important thing about this agreement is that professional development companies are fully aware of its consequences.  
  1. Register the Trademark

  An excellent reason to create an LLC is the ability to build a brand around your company. Your app will grow and become more valuable if you trademark your brand, logo, and products.   As important as the app itself, branding is equally important. Consider the top apps available on the market. All of them have identifiable icons and memorable titles.   These should be protected. Your brand is the one that end-users will remember. You can trademark them to prevent others from copying your intellectual property or allow you to sue them for infringement.  
  1. Non-Compete Arrangements

  Non-compete agreements prevent people from sharing trade secrets with another company. It prohibits contracted developers and professionals from working on other apps competing with yours.   The best thing about this is that your developers won't be able to work on the project of your competitor for any length of time after they have finished working on yours.   This means they may be technically out of work for a while or unable to work with clients.   Although it may seem difficult to find a developer willing to sign an agreement like this, with the right motivation and compensation, it should not be impossible.  
  1. Reserve the Name of Your App

  Google does not allow developers to reserve app names, unlike iOS. The good news is that you can have multiple apps with the same name. This is great for those who have an idea but are concerned that someone might already have your name.  

1) How do I reserve an app name in the iOS App Store

  First and foremost, you should go to the App store to ensure that no one else has the name. You can reserve your name for the App Store in advance so no one can copy it.  

2) To reserve your name in the App Shop, follow these steps:

 
  • Enter your account information at itunesconnect.apple.com and log in.
  • The "My Apps" section is located at the top right corner.
  • Select "Add a new App."
  • All information about your app is required. To complete this step, you will need an app bundle.
  • Click "create" to reserve your app's name.
  • After the app is created, you can upload all the apps from Xcode.
  Follow these steps to launch your app on the App store. You can also be sure that no one will steal your idea.   You can reserve an app name for free. There is no time limit, and you can keep it for as long as you do not violate Apple's guidelines.  

3) How do I reserve an app name in Android Google Play

  Android is a simpler platform. Google Play doesn't require you to reserve an app name. You can have multiple apps that share the same name.   Google Play technically allows developers to use the same name already existing but with a different package name.   We recommend that you choose a unique app name. Suppose you use the same name or trademark as other companies. In that case, it can confuse users, and you will lose all your development and marketing efforts.  
  1. Opt for trademarking

  Trademarking allows you to prevent competitors from using symbols and icons associated with your app. You may want to trademark your name for all features or services your mobile app offers beyond the app's logo, name, and icons.   This will help you to stop your competitors from following the same path.   You can think of the most popular mobile apps, such as WhatsApp, Truecaller, and WhatsApp. These mobile apps have incredible brand recognition. These apps can be identified by the colors and fonts they use, as well as their logo.   Additionally, it is more common for company names to be closely associated with their applications.   Protecting your app's name and logo from counterfeiting by your competitors via trademarking is crucial.   This is because trademarks stop your competitors from creating products or services that sound similar to yours. You also have protection from potential legal problems and lawsuits.  

1) How do you trademark an app idea?

  How to register a trademark on your app idea?   -File your trademark application.   -Please be clear about the details of goods and services that your application will cover   -Submit all required documents at the time you file.   -After you submit the documents, the trademark and patent office will review them.   It takes approximately. 8-10 months. After submitting your trademark application, it will take the Patent & trademark office 3-4 months to review it.   Developers and entrepreneurs can copy your app's features and functionality with different names or logos. It is not considered trademark infringement in such cases.  
  1. Choose Your Professional Relationships Carefully

  Reputable mobile app development companies and individuals are essential. You may need outside help if you can't develop your app or design it yourself.   Screen all potential third parties before you make a decision. Review their websites, read testimonials and get in touch with past clients. Third-party contractors and trustworthy developers will be able to provide all the information you need.   You can reduce the risk of idea theft and other underhanded dealings by only working with integrity-based professional service providers.  
  1. Share information Selectively

  Sharing your app's ideas sparingly is the best and easiest way to protect them.   In some instances, it may be necessary to share information about your app. You don't need to share every technical detail about your app with developers or pitch to clients.   You can reduce the likelihood of someone stealing your product or service if you aren't too open about it. Although this may sound like common sense, your enthusiasm may motivate you to share your game-changing idea with anyone who will listen.  
  1. Keep Your Idea Secretive

  You cannot keep your idea secret. There are many situations when you need to share it. However, you can control the amount of information that you share. It is very rare to need to share the entire contents of your idea with anyone.   There is a greater chance that someone will steal your idea the more you share it. Although it might seem a common truth, many creators share their ideas out of sheer enthusiasm.  
  1. Keep a Written Record of Everything

  Keep track of everything that you have to do with your application. It will help you strengthen your case in court as it will be considered written evidence. Record the code and design of the app, your thoughts, conversations with contractors, and any other relevant information.   You can't ignore anything. Keeping a log of all chats you have with people related to your app would be great. This would allow you to pinpoint the source of information. These are just a few simple ways to protect your app idea and future app from being stolen.  

Benefits of Patenting an App

  You must know about the complexity of patenting mobile app ideas. Let us have a look at the major benefits of patenting your mobile app ideas.  

Competitive Advantage

  Filing a patent application or idea for an app can prevent others from entering the market before yours. You can apply for a provisional app patent.   Technically, your app can be labeled "patent pending." These professional patents will include the original filing date. This ensures that no other business can copy your app idea without your permission.  

Digital Asset Protection

  Patenting your mobile app will protect any digital assets you have created or those still being developed. Patenting also allows you to receive damages, grievances, and compensations in case of an imitation or infringement.  

The Cost of Patenting a Mobile App

  Answering the question, "How much it costs to patent a mobile application?" we can tell you that it depends on the type of patent application. You can consult the USPTO listing for more information about the exact costs and fees. Here are some charges you will need to pay when applying for an app patent.  
  • The filing fee for elementary filing: is $70-280+
  • Patent search fee: $150-600
  • Patent Examination fee: $180-700
  • $400-1600 for a 3.5-year maintenance fee (involves maintaining a granted patent valid).
  • $900-3600 for a 7.5-year maintenance agreement
  • 11.5-year maintenance fees: $1850-7000+
  The app patent cost for provisional patent applications can range from $2000 to $5000. At the same time, it is $10,000 to $15,000.  

When Should you Patent your App or Idea?

  Patents are granted only to the first person to file them, not to the inventor. In that case, it is time to file for a provisional or non-provisional patent application quickly.   Let's look at some conditions to clarify:  
  • Your app must be 100% original and ready to go.
  • You should have funds for intellectual property protection and a separate fund to support app development.
  • Once you have a prototype, your development team has already begun working on the MVP.
  You can apply for a patent if you have all the requirements.  

When You Should Not Patent Your App Idea?

  A patent is only granted to applications that are original and not inspired by similar applications.   Here are some situations or conditions in that you shouldn't patent your app.  
  • If your application is technically ready, it is a recombinant invention that shares the source code of an open-source software program.
  • If your app is an advanced version of any existing product.
  • Your app idea is still in validation, and your team is currently working on financial, technical, or legal feasibility.
  • If your app idea has been validated, you can move into the development phase.
 

How Long Does It Take to Patent a Mobile App?

  After we've discussed the cost of app patents and how to obtain one, it's time to examine the time required to complete the process.   Most applications are rejected, and resubmissions are made over and over. This back-and-forth process can take up to four to six years, depending on the circumstances. It took Mark Zuckerberg 6 years to obtain a patent for Facebook, which was granted in 2012.  

Provisional App

  The most popular method of patenting an idea is through a Provisional Patent Application. It is the most common approach top application development companies use when starting the patent process.   You can file a provisional application without a formal Patent Claim declaration or any information disclosure statement. Here are some benefits of a Provisional Application.  
  • This grant gives you 12 months to develop and refine your MVP.
  • This allows you to use the term "patent held" on your product.
  • It costs less to prepare and file an application than a non-provisional one.
  • You can file International applications and claim priority in less than 12 months.
 

Non-Provisional

  The non-provisional patent app is a non-provisional application. It can be filed in any country without the claim of any priority or reference to an app that is in the process at the office.   A detailed specification and claims must accompany the application. Non-provisional patent applications must include information such as a written description and at least one claim that legally defines the boundaries and metes of the invention.   These questions will help you decide which one you should choose.  
  • What speed do you need your patent to be granted?
  • How long do you plan to delay patent examination costs?
  A skilled software patent attorney can answer your questions regarding patent protection and help you decide if it is right for you. Even an attorney can handle the patent application process. Getting patent protection for novel and non-obvious inventions is important to prevent others from copying your idea.  

The Key Takeaway

  Do not let fear of competitors taking your idea for your app keep you awake at night. You can rest easy if you follow the steps above.   You would never allow someone to steal your idea for an app and make money from it as an entrepreneur. Protecting your app idea is crucial.   Choosing a reliable and trustworthy software development company that will not hesitate to sign an NDA is important.   You can protect your idea and get it on the market quickly before others.
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