I want to make an app that has transitions between screens like snapchat. (Three buttons at the bottom of the screen that are always there). Is that legal? The app will not be like snapchat in anyway except for those buttons. (different icons)

I see these two patents but I am not sure if they are describing the buttons specifically or if those transitions are patentable



2 Answers 2


A patent describes an invention, as in a new creation and not just the way something looks, usually.

You can have three buttons on the bottom of the screen, but you can't steal the whole of Snapchat. You can read more about their patents and what they cover here: https://techcrunch.com/2014/06/22/facebook-slingshot-snapchat-patents/

  • The app will not be like snapchat (It is an air conditioning app). It will use a similar graphical interface (three floating buttons to go to three different screens). Is that legal?
    – NewAppDeveloping
    Commented May 14, 2019 at 20:43
  • Look at the first flow chart in the link. The patent isn't about an interface. I mean I haven't seen your exact app, but just having three buttons is legal. The snap chat patent is about the way it records and it has nothing to do with the exact look of it.
    – Putvi
    Commented May 14, 2019 at 20:45
  • Thank you for accepting my answer. I hope it helped.
    – Putvi
    Commented May 14, 2019 at 21:53
  • 1
    The cited patents are design patents. Design patents describe the way a thing looks specifically. In my opinion this answer is incorrect.
    – Eric S
    Commented May 17, 2019 at 1:17
  • Yes the cited patents are design patents, but they refer to the buttons used in the patent in that article. The OP says he isn't copying the look or functions of Snap Chat itself so it would be like Android itself using three buttons at the bottom in terms of what would happen if he went to court. This was originally in the Law section of this site.
    – Putvi
    Commented May 18, 2019 at 19:40

You've linked two design patents. Design patents cover the ornamental design of functional items. You need to look at the figures in the design patents listed. Google Patents is good for this:



When looking at the figures, the dashed lines are not covered by the patent, only the solid lines. As long as your user interface doesn't look like the figures, you should be okay. You might want to search more widely as there may be other relevant patents. For instance here is all the granted US patents assigned to Snapchat. There are both design and utility patents listed. As always, I recommend consulting with an actual patent attorney in regards to freedom-to-operate opinions.

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