Protect my App

Protect your App using a combination of Patents, Trademarks and Designs. But because apps typically have a short “life”, patents will not have the effect you expected.

App protection using Patents

Considering that it will typically take 4 years to secure enforceable patent rights, granted patent rights are seldom used to “protect” apps. Don’t get me wrong: patents are useful to “protect” apps; just not in the way you expect. Facebook, Uber, Guitar Hero, etc. all filed patents, but none of these patents offered “real” enforceable protection in Court. Instead, the patents were filed to: deter competitors from copying their apps; and increase the perceived value of the company.

That’s where the true value of software patents lies – in “deterrence” and not necessarily in “protection”.

After accepting this, the cost of patenting your app reduces significantly. Instead of spending a lot of money trying to secure “protection” that will be extremely “thin” and too late in coming, you can use Patent Pending Numbers at a cost of only $199.

To get a Patent Pending Number, describe how your software works in “method steps” (e.g. a user logs into a device, the login details are communicated to a server, the server …). Your document must describe at least one new method step. Then, add some screenshots to explain the steps through the “lens” of your user interface. Upload this document to the GlobalIPCo system and you’ll receive a Patent Pending Number within a day. For the next year, you may mark your app “Patent Pending” worldwide. Uber did this for 9 years!

App protection using Trademarks

By far, the most valuable item of intellectual property you’ll end up owning is the trademark for your app’s name. About 30% of Facebook’s entire value is attributed to the FACEBOOK trademarks.

To protect the name of your software, conduct a registrability search to confirm that no conflicting trademark registration exists. The search costs R2,500 plus vat. Thereafter, file trademarks in relevant classes – our trademark attorneys will assist you to select appropriate classes. Finally, file the trademark application for R4,090 plus vat.

Trademark rights are renewed every 10 years and survive in perpetuity.

App protection using Designs

Finally, take screenshots of your main user interface screens and register them as designs. Design registrations protect the shape / configuration of your screens. This means that no-one will be able to copy your “look”. Consider Uber – I’m sure everyone would otherwise rush to copy their layout.

Latest Specials
  • Online SA trademark filing

    Only $199

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  • Register a Trademark in South Africa

    R4,090 + vat

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  • Trademark search

    R2,500 + vat

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  • Online SA design filing

    Only $299

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  • EU Design Registration

    Only $625

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  • Save up to 70% on renewal fees

    Save up to 70% on patent renewal fees / annuities by paying them online

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  • File provisional patent

    Only $199

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  • Patent Pending Number

    Only $199

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Get started with the patent process

Get in touch

Contact us

Intangible Consulting (Pty) Ltd
9 Kruger St
South Africa

T +27 (0)11 483 1439
T +27 (0)11 483 3128 (alt.)