Honolulu, HI asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Hawaii

Q: Not sure if I need to patent idea or not.

have an idea for an app that as far as I can search has not been created. I want to make sure I lock this idea in before it gets scooped by someone else, but I'm unsure of what I should do first.

1 Lawyer Answer
Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Pittsboro, NC

A: One step is to kick your search skills up a level with the tips in my slide set. http://bit.ly/Patent_Searching.

Next you may want to wade into Section 101 issues as some software ideas are no longer welcome at the Patent and Trademark Office. This may be getting deeper into the weeds than you would like.

Most entrepreneurs are not likely to take this deep a dive into patent law nuances. However, if you are aware of the issues raised by the United States Supreme Court in recent cases such as Bilski, Alice and so forth, then you might want to see how the USPTO explains this mess to non-lawyer patent examiners. Section 101 deals with whether a particular invention is the type of invention that can get a patent under United States patent law. Section 101 is a separate concept from comparing the new idea to the prior art to check for novelty or non-obviousness.

Here are the resources posted by the PTO on this topic.


After that, one good next step is to talk with a patent attorney with the right skill set to help you decide whether to spend the time and money to chase a patent.

I hope this helps.

Kevin E Flynn

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