Can I patent a mobile application or protect the idea
I am about launching a mobile application soonest (in 5 days time) but I am really scared about others using the idea behind the whole system because the few people I have spoken to about investing in it always say they want to buy the whole system out-rightly.
I built the whole app myself to avoid ideas leakage and it has taken months to complete. I am starting the whole thing small and later, new features will be added. I don't want somebody to rush in and build a more powerful app on my ideas.
It is a social app that is built in a way to generate income. I want to protect the idea generally.
- Can I apply for a patent to protect the idea?
- or what can I do to avoid other people using the idea to build a similar app?
You have provided very little information about what you your app is doing. But based on what you have provided, I believe it is unlikely that you could receive patent protection. Generally speaking, a patent cannot be used to patent an idea, but rather the concrete manifestation of that idea. Said another way, to be patent eligible, an invention must be more than an abstract concept implemented on a general purpose computer (I believe a smart phone would qualify as a general purpose computer). You can read about the most recent and impactful decision in this area of patent law here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Corp._v._CLS_Bank_International
Even though your idea and implementation may not directly map to those at issue in the Alice case, a large number of other cases and PTO decisions have been handed down based on Alice, and which also likely would put your invention in a bad light.
You should obtain a confidential consult with a patent attorney or agent to be certain.