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Android APP developing: Patenting Apps?

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By tannerw_2010, Senior Member on 22nd August 2011, 06:08 PM
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Alright here's the deal. I have an app idea for a game that I plan on creating that is very simple, and I have a good feeling it will take off. My worries is that developing it will almost be pointless because of the lax android market policy. I am a new programmer, so my worry is I will make the app pretty decent, and some more experienced programmer will be able to duplicate it and make it better. This just doesn't seem right. I know this happens all the time (Fruit Slice, for example, is a Fruit Ninja knockoff and it's free).

Android is a love it/ hate it relationship. Users love being able to download just as good of knockoffs for free, but I'm sure this is a major turn off for developers who worked hard on their original idea's, just to have it undercut by another developer who will offer a similar (or even better app) for free. Part of me wishes I could just develop it for iOS, but I don't have a Mac or iPhone, and don't ever plan on getting one.

My question is, is there anyway to stop it? Like a patent, or something similar? This is my major hesitation to developing for android. I know I'm not going to be the best programmer out there, but it's the idea that make the apps, and that's where I feel like (I'm sure a lot of other people do too) I could do some contributing. Let me know how you guys feel about this
22nd August 2011, 08:52 PM |#2  
OP Senior Member
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Anybody? 10Char
22nd August 2011, 09:02 PM |#3  
nyydynasty's Avatar
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welcome to programming for any platform. There are (free) alternatives to almost every single program (android-based, windows-based, etc...)
22nd August 2011, 09:21 PM |#4  
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I think you're in a very bad place to ask about that question. Programmers are usually not at all fond of patents since they tend to be overly broad, hard to detect and generally of low quality. (In case you haven't noticed that's also my opinion)

But yes, if that's what you want to do, a patent would be the way to go. Copyright protects your code, but not your idea.
22nd August 2011, 09:47 PM |#5  
Los Angeles
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Make it free. Put ads on it. If it takes off make an iOS one
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23rd August 2011, 02:59 AM |#6  
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As far as I can remember, from my Intellectual Property Law class, software (i.e. apps) cannot be the subject of a patent. But of course, this changes from country to country.

Here are some links you might want to read up on:
23rd August 2011, 11:20 AM |#7  
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Computer-based inventions... yeah, they're not supposed to be patentable: Not in the US and even less in the EU. The key point is how computer-based inventions is defined. The standard way around it is simply to patent "a machine doing XY" instead of "XY"

Basically, the patent clerks don't check for anything but formalities. I used to help out on the peertopatent platform, but it just became ridicolous because the clerks would let everything through no matter what prior art or explanations of obviousness we provided.
23rd August 2011, 12:30 PM |#8  
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Patenting is the worst thing you can do. Don't you read all the patent BS going around lately? Also, spending money on a patent won't be enough, you'll also need to spent money enforcing it, and you won't make any friends by being a litigator.

All you can do is provide the best product you can come up with and hope for the best. If someone makes something similar but better, well, you'll just have to work harder. Or drop the whole thing.

But as others have said, you'll have this problem on *all* platforms. A practical example, when Nero released their burning app for Linux, my thought was "This is kinda cool, but why would I pay for Nero, when there's K3B and other apps that to the job, but are open source and free?"

The trick is to provide something others don't have. In the case of NeroLinux it's familiarity for ex-Windows folks or dual-booters. In your case it could be more features, better graphics, easier to navigate interface, regularly provided additional content... something in that direction.
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