Mobile apps have become an essential part of our digital lives, transforming the way we communicate, work and inform. But can a mobile application be protected by a patent?
Patents are granted to inventors to protect their new and unique creations, giving them the exclusive right to profit from their inventions for a limited period of time. To be eligible for a patent, an invention must meet certain requirements, including being new, technological, and eligible for patent protection.
Determining whether mobile apps can be patented is a complex issue. In the past, software and business methods had difficulty obtaining patents, being considered abstract concepts. However, changes in patent law and case law have influenced the patentability of inventions based on computer programs, including mobile applications.
To increase the chances of obtaining a patent for a mobile application, the following factors must be considered:
- Technological innovation: An application that introduces a new and non-obvious technical solution to a real problem is more likely to meet patentability requirements, showing how the application goes beyond a simple idea and solves a specific technical problem, thus strengthening the case for patentability.
- Unique features: highlight the distinct features and functionality of the application to strengthen its patentability. These may include innovative algorithms, data processing techniques, user interfaces, or hardware integration that distinguishes the application from existing solutions.
- Tangible benefits: demonstrate that the application provides practical and valuable results to improve its patentability, by showing how the application improves efficiency, solves a technical problem or improves the user experience, providing evidence of its usefulness and potential for success.
- Method claims: Patent applications for applications may include method claims describing the steps or processes performed by the application to achieve the desired results. These claims may cover new processes, data processing techniques or innovative interactions with other devices or systems. It is important to note that patents protect the functionality of an implemented IT solution, while the computer code of the software, defining how that solution is written, is protected by copyright or legal rights specific to software. This clear distinction ensures that the two forms of protection do not overlap.
Although the patentability of mobile applications is a complex and evolving subject, it is possible to obtain patent protection for a single application. By ensuring technological innovation, highlighting distinctive features, presenting tangible benefits, including method claims, and seeking expert advice, application developers can strengthen their patent filings. As technology advances and courts refine their understanding of software inventions, the IP landscape for mobile applications will continue to evolve.