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I have just finished testing my mobile application and I am ready to release it. The idea is novel and patentable. I have made sure of that. Now I have a question, I want to know the right time to patent it. Should I go ahead and apply for a provisional patent then release application on the market? Should I release the app then apply for a patent soon after? Is there a wait time between the time I need to file for a provisional patent and the release of the application. Keep in mind that I want to start the application on Kickstarter in order to receive funds to fully support the project. So, I want to know the order in which I could file for the patent.

Regards.

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You should absolutely file a patent application before releasing your product.

If you release your product first, then the product becomes prior art. This will prevent you receiving a patent (but for the grace period in the US).

Grace period

In the US, there is a 1 year grace period for the inventor to file a patent application after their own disclosure. However, this grace period does not apply to provisional applications. Your first filing would need to be a non-provisional.

This grace period does not apply in most other countries.

How long to wait

If you have validly filed your application, and you are confident that your application fully discloses all the novel aspects of your invention, you could feel free to release your product the next day.

  • Is there a period where they could say, wait something is missing and we have rejected your application? I am planning on filing a fully thorough detailed description of my application plus add flowcharts. I am using the "Realtime Cloudbased Mobile Web App and Social Rootkit" template from docracy dot com to do my patent. Should I put my application name in the template or talk in general? I am really worried about the "abstract" aspect that I keep hearing about. Can I provide a compiled version of of my mobile app to prove it is a fully developed idea and not an abstract one? – Rick James Jan 31 '17 at 10:23
  • @RickJames There is no such period, as with a provisional, nobody checks what you file: you are solely responsible for ensuring that it is sufficient. You may only find out many years down the line during prosecution or enforcement that something is missing (at which point it will be too late to fix). – Maca Jan 31 '17 at 10:26
  • @RickJames You should talk in general about the invention: your product is irrelevant since you're not patenting your product. There is also no scope for including an executable (since a patent specification is solely text and drawing based). Moreover, "abstract" is unrelated to whether you can provide an executable: it is related to the subject matter. So a method for trading currency would likely be abstract, whereas a method for printing security features on currency would likely be fine. It is, unfortunately, a supremely complicated point. – Maca Jan 31 '17 at 10:30
  • thanks a lot for the information. I guess I will made do with what I have and try to be boringly thorough. Last question do software or mobile apps have to have a special provisional template or I can just use the one I mentioned earlier. – Rick James Jan 31 '17 at 11:11
  • @RickJames Being boringly thorough is the essence of being a patent attorney (and also the essence of not being invited to dinner dates). Strictly speaking, there are no formality requirements for a provisional, however following the typical format for a non-provisional is sensible. That template doesn't look terrible though I don't fully like it. I would therefore also suggest looking at as many similar granted US-originating patents in your field as you can, to get a feel for the typical approach used (assuming you can't just hire a patent attorney to do it for you). – Maca Jan 31 '17 at 11:19

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