How To Patent an App Idea
3 minute read
April 19, 2024


Anyone who uses a smartphone knows how innovative app ideas can be incredibly valuable. Even if you’re not a professional app developer, you might wonder how to patent an app idea you’ve had in your head for ages. 

How valuable is app development today? 

Two examples: 

However, protecting these ideas through patents can be a nuanced process due to the intangible nature of software. 

Let’s highlight the key considerations for inventors looking to secure your app innovation. 

Schedule your free consultation with Stanzione & Associates PPLC.

Can you patent a concept for an app?

It’s important to clarify that while you cannot patent an idea or concept in its abstract form, you can patent a specific application of that idea if it meets certain criteria. 

For a software app, the invention must be a novel, non-obvious process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter to qualify for a patent.

Let’s say your app does, in theory, qualify: what next?

Steps to patent an app idea

Document your invention

Detail every aspect of your app, including the code, user interface, and any unique processes or technologies it employs. 

Documentation needs to be thorough to provide a clear picture of how your app works, with:

  • Sketches
  • Flowcharts
  • Descriptions

Conduct a patent search

Novelty needs to be determined. Perform a thorough search through the USPTO database and other patent databases globally to ensure your app or similar technologies haven’t been patented.

Determine the type of patent application

Your two choices are to file a provisional or non-provisional patent application. 

  1. A provisional application is less expensive and allows you to quickly secure a filing date, giving you a year to file a non-provisional application.
  2. The latter is more comprehensive and begins the formal review process.

Prepare your patent application

Preparing your application involves detailing your app’s functionality, uniqueness, and operation. 

The application should include:

  • An abstract
  • A detailed description
  • Drawings (if applicable)
  • Claims that clearly define the scope of your invention

Apply with the USPTO

You can file your application online. Make sure to pay the filing fees, which vary depending on the type of application and the size of the entity filing it.

Respond to USPTO inquiries

After filing, a USPTO examiner will review your application. This process can take several years and may require responses to objections or requests for clarification. Always respond promptly and thoroughly to these inquiries.

Finding the right attorney

Given the complex nature of patent law—especially concerning software—working with a patent attorney experienced in software patents can be invaluable. 

They can help navigate the intricacies of patent eligibility for software, prepare a strong application, and respond to any USPTO inquiries.

Stanzione & Associates, PLLC, for patenting your app idea

Patenting an app idea involves more than just a novel concept; it requires a clear demonstration of how the app functions in a unique and non-obvious way. 

While the process can be complex and time-consuming, securing a patent for your app can provide significant protection for your intellectual property, offering a competitive edge in the rapidly evolving tech landscape.

Reach out to Stanzione & Associates, PLLC, for a free consultation about patenting your app idea.

Share on LinkedIn
Email this Article
Print this Article

More on Blog