I have an idea for an APP, but I don't have the skills or resources to implement it.

So the only way for me to profit from it is to sell the idea to someone else.

Is that what patents are for?

  • Well. Kinda. Do you have some thousand dollars for the patent? And it will be very hard to find someone who buys an idea. But yes, that it something that patents can do. Provided the idea is patentable.
    – user18033
    Mar 29, 2021 at 5:44
  • Patents are for inventions rather than ideas. The implementation of this idea would result in something technically useful? Mar 29, 2021 at 11:48
  • @theEuropeist I developed an answer based on your and DonQuiKong's comments. I would encourage you do answer yourself in the future as I find your answers to be of high quality and it supports the site.
    – Eric S
    Mar 29, 2021 at 14:23

2 Answers 2


As the Europeist stated in a comment, ideas really aren't patentable, inventions are. The difference is that an invention describes how the idea is implemented. A silly example would be that someone couldn't get a patent for an app that "picks stocks that always go up in value". You might, however, be able to get a patent on the specific algorithm that assesses the stocks' values. You don't need to show an actual working model or code to obtain a patent, but you do need to "enable" the invention. This means you need to describe the implementation in sufficient detail that someone skilled in the field could implement it.

As DonQuiKong states, obtaining a patent does cost real money, both in fees to the patent office and paying a patent attorney or agent to draft and process the application. Especially with software related patents, trying to do it yourself is likely to either result in rejection of your application or else a narrow and worthless patent.

Assuming you actually have a good implementation in mind, you could approach potential investors after having them sign confidentiality agreements. If they agree to fund you then you can use some of that money to pursue the patent. Alternatively, you could work with a programmer to develop the invention. In lieu of pay, you might offer the programmer a percentage of the licensing income. Once you have a an actual implementation then you could pursue patents or investors.


Yes, that is what patents are for. A working model is not not needed but a specific way of preforming a method is required. The inventor can assign complete rights to a patent or can license it on whatever basis is mutually agreeable to another.

As other answers have pointed out, an app is not the kind of thing that is getting readily patented theses days.

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