How to protect an application

Patent protection of applications is necessary to provide the company with a temporary monopoly on the production and sale of the developed product, which increases the value of the company, and the protected product looks much more attractive to investors.
After creating a new application, the author raises a question of how to protect it from copying and unscrupulous competitors after publishing on popular platforms. The application itself is not subject to legal protection. However, you can patent the interface, register the program code or get a certificate on means of individualization used in the application.

Possible options for legal protection the application include:

- Trademark. As a trademark, you can register the original logo of the application, character images or even slogan. However, you have to consider that legal protection of a trademark applies only to the goods or services indicated in the certificate. When registering a trademark for the application, 9th class (applications and programs) and 42nd class (services for developing programs and applications) are selected. After the registration of the trademark, the protection is valid for 10 years and may be extended an unlimited number of times;

- Industrial design. As an industrial design, you can protect the application interface (unique design, unusual arrangement of icons, galleries, dynamic elements), since a patent for an industrial design confirms the rights to the appearance of the application. The term of patent protection for an industrial design is 5 years with the possibility of renewal up to 25 years. However, in case of a significant update of the interface, the patent does not apply to it;

- A computer program. As a computer program, the code of the application is protected. To be more specific, the computer program is protected as a literary work. The term of protection of the rights to the program is up to 70 years since the death of the last author, and the individual may be the copyright holder of the program;

- Invention. Protecting the application as an invention is more difficult. In this case, it is necessary to identify a patentable object (as a rule, algorithms), carefully draw up a formula and correctly apply for a patent. The validity of the invention is 20 years with its annual fees to pay;

- Objects of copyright. These include: the original video, music, texts, articles or anything else that is created specifically for the application. The rights to such works appear at the time of their creation, and for an additional measure of protection the work can be deposited (stored in a special repository, which allows you to confirm authorship for a certain date in the event of disputes about authorship).

The best option for obtaining exclusive rights to the application is the complex protection of all its components.

So that competitors and other interested parties could not make a copy of the author’s application, it is important not to publish screenshots of the interface, design or source code in the public domain before submitting an application. Only after obtaining a patent, the right holder can use effective and legal tools to protect the intellectual product.

In order not to have a conflict of interest and to avoid litigation, if there are several authors involved in the creation of the application, you need to identify the right holder, indicate all the authors and pay them amends.
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