Can I patent mobile applications?

Mobile applications are now days considered as lifeline of human race. From calculation to the management of finances, from Music applications to create your music apps/songs and from clicking a perfect picture to edit the image using different modes are possible through mobile applications. Since the introduction of mobile application by various companies around the world for different platforms like Java and Symbian has led to billion dollar industry but in recent years the introduction of mobile store, where user can find various applications which will run on mobile as per their needs for windows phone, android phone and in Apple store. The mobile app for Android in December 2016 was 2.6 million apps whereas, in January 2017, around 2.2 million mobile apps were available to download for various iOS devices. In Microsoft store, about 850,000 apps in the Windows Store were there. These staggering figures show that mobile application around the world has become a lifeline to users for different use.

Patent mobile applications are same as of software patents except that they run on a mobile hardware and interacting with various users. Now the important question here arises that can we get a patent on mobile applications.

Criteria for getting mobile Application Patents: A patent for any mobile application patented around the world, need to fulfill the basics criteria, which are:
Novelty :

The invention must be novel and for that, verify that there are no prior patents on an invention same or similar invention. A patentability report based on prior art or a patent search will confirm the novelty of patent applications. The invention should not be anticipated, i.e. published anywhere before or available in some other public forum of display or use.

Obviousness :

Inventive step is a crucial step, which means there has to be an element of innovation in your invention. An inventor cannot get a patent for mobile applications for an obvious invention.

Needs to have utility :

It includes capable of an industrial application so that invention has some features of being useful even.

In the United States, the patent has become a method of protection for software or mobile application. A patent is an exclusive right granted to an inventor for an invention, which comprises of either a product or process. The invention must follow the patentability criteria which includes novelty, non-obviousness, and utility.

The United States patent office have been granting patents to the computer implemented inventions or software related inventions based on the technical solution provided to the technical problem, known as the “technical character.”

The U.S. patent statute section 101, broadly defines patent-eligible subject matter as “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter” and any improvements. But investors cannot patent laws of nature, natural phenomena, or abstract ideas. In 2014, the US Supreme Court in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International decided essential guidelines for determining patent eligibility for software.

The two-test for patent eligibility on abstract ideas is to identify :
  • Whether the patent claim contains an abstract idea, such as an algorithm, method of computation, or another general principle; if not, the claim is potentially patentable.
  • Whether the patent claims embodies an “inventive concept.”

The Court held that ordinary and customary use of the general-purpose digital computer is not enough—”merely requiring generic computer implementation fails to transform an abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention.” Further the exclusion of “abstract ideas,” the Court stated that the principle undergirding these exclusions is “pre-emption,” and which it related to the notion that patent law does not inhibit further discovery by improperly tying up the future use of these building blocks of human ingenuity.

In Europe, under Article 52 states that “programs for computers” shall not be regarded as inventions. In Europe, the main objection for the patent examiner is for inventive step. Article 56 states that “An invention shall be considered as involving an inventive step if, having regard to state of the art, it is not obvious to a person skilled in the art.” In Europe, the main objection given by examiner is for inventive step. If an inventor or applicant, overcome the inventive step criteria as well as technical character issues then mobile applications can be easily patents.

In India, section 3(k), states that Computer program per se is not patentable. In 2016, Indian Patent office came up with guidelines for Computer-related inventions (CRI) in which it clearly states that the computer program in itself is never patentable. If the contribution lies solely in the computer program, deny the claim. If the contribution lies in both the computer program as well as hardware, proceed to other steps of patentability. If the contribution lies only in mathematical method, business method or algorithm, deny the claim. If the contribution lies in the field of the computer program, check whether it is claimed in conjunction with a novel hardware and proceed to other steps to determine patentability on the invention. The writing of claims can also be the important criteria for getting a computer program to patent

From above information, it can be evidently concluded that mobile patent application are patentable around the different Patent office if the fit into the patentability criteria as well the recent case decision help the examiner to examine the mobile patent application and grant mobile patent application.

To get latest updates like and share our Facebook page!