I have an idea to launch a mobile phone and web app (Business App). I am wondering if i can patent the idea or process to protect my idea.
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Texas
Hi, my name is XXXX XXX Im researching your answer now.
Unfortunately, despite what you may have heard from late night television, satellite radio commercials or snake oil salesmen, there is no effective way to protect an idea. Copyrights protect expression and patents protects inventions, and neither protect ideas. In both cases the idea is the first critical step, but without some identifiable embodiment of the idea there can be no intellectual property protection obtained and no exclusive rights will flow unto you. This does not mean that you should give up when you only have an idea, but it does mean that you will need to proceed to flesh out your idea to the point where it is concrete enough to be more than what the law would call a “mere idea.” As such, ideas alone cannot be protected, so you need to think in terms of invention. Inventions can be patented.
If what you have is not an invention, but a story idea for example, you should be thinking about protection afforded under the copyright laws. Here the best thing you can do is simply start writing, drafting or otherwise creating your work. A copyright exists immediately upon the original creation and fixation thereof, which is the legal way to say it exists upon creation (i.e. writing it down). You do not need to do anything special to claim a copyright, and you can immediately place the c in a circle and call the work copyrighted. Nevertheless, in order to sue for infringement you will need to have a federally registered copyright. The filing fee is only $45, so applying for a copyright should be done as a matter of course whenever possible.
With respect to inventions, you should be thinking about getting a patent. Unfortunately, many people will have great ideas, but will not be able to put that idea into a package appropriate for a patent because there is no invention, only a concept. To be sure, the idea is the all critical first step in the invention process. After you come up with the idea or concept you now need to put together a game plan on how to carry that idea through. The idea and game plan together form what the law calls conception.
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I have to explain it further. I had the idea and now building a service for non-profits/charities and schools. I didn't see anyone providing this type of service yet. I know anyone one can launch an app or web service for "a" school. What i designed is unique. Once companies see it working, they may be able to do the same. I am wondering how i can protect the Concept. Not sure if Copyright is good enough or I the i designed the app, the process itself can be patented.
By the way.. great answer on Idea.. it's clear
Sorry Bart.. i will have to leave in 5mins.. i can catchup with you later if i don't connect with you now.
There are only four types of IP protection: copyright, trademark, patent, trade secrect. The only way to control it is to get your patent/copyrihgt and then enforce the rights against others. In the mean time, confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements should be in place to protect yourself.
Thanks.. my question to the expert: Can this app be patented ? i am not clear on that.
Not all software can be patented. It depends on what the software does. But you can always tradsecret and copyright.
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