Can You Patent an App? Exploring the Realm of App Patents
3 minute read
January 5, 2024


The digital age has brought significant changes in our daily lives, and the development of apps has become an essential part of it. However, the surge in app innovation has raised a fundamental question: Can you patent an app?

As a software developer, understanding the intersection of app innovations and app patents is crucial.

The field of patent law for software, especially for applications, is a multifaceted and continuously changing area.

To effectively navigate this intersection, one must possess a comprehensive knowledge of both technological advancements and the legal requirements for obtaining a patent.

Skip ahead: Get a free consultation.

Patentability of apps | What makes an app patentable?

An app that can be patented should offer a unique solution or a novel method of operation.

It should not be just an abstract idea but must present a specific and practical application of technology.

The requirements for app patent eligibility

For an app to qualify for a patent, it must meet certain criteria.

The app must be new, not an obvious extension of existing technology, and have a practical application. These criteria are known as novelty, non-obviousness, and utility, respectively.

The process of patenting an app | Key steps in applying

The process of patenting an app involves several key steps:

  1. Conduct a prior art search
  2. Prepare a detailed patent application
  3. Navigate correspondence with a patent office to address any issues raised during the examination process

The complexities of the app patent application

Filing a patent application for your new app program is a complex process that involves providing intricate details, such as:

  • Descriptions of the app’s functionality
  • Technical specifications
  • Unique aspects that justify its patentability

Challenges and considerations in app patenting

One of the common obstacles in securing patents for apps is proving their novelty and non-obviousness.

This is especially challenging given the fast-paced evolution of software technology and the abundance of existing apps.

Strategic considerations for protecting your app

Developing a strategic approach to patenting can involve focusing on unique technical solutions provided by your app.

Additionally, it’s worth considering international patent protection if the app targets global markets.

How long does an app patent last?

Like other utility patents, the patent on your app is good for 20 years after the original filing.

Alternatives to patent protection for apps

In addition to patents, there are other ways to protect apps through intellectual property (IP) rights.

Copyrights can protect the app’s code and interface while trademarks can protect the app’s brand identity.

Balancing patent and other IP strategies for apps

A well-rounded IP strategy may involve combining patents with other forms of protection to provide complete coverage of both the technical and aesthetic aspects of the app.

The future of patenting in the app industry

Can you patent an app? Definitely.

For app developers, making informed decisions about patenting their apps requires:

  • Keeping up-to-date with changes in intellectual property (IP) law
  • Understanding the specific features of your software and how it can be protected
  • Seeking expert guidance regarding the complexities of the patenting process

Stanzione & Associates PLLC has the expertise and professional guidance that you need.

Schedule your free consultation today.
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