One of the greatest benefits of the rise of the smartphone has been the proliferation of apps. Today, there are over 2.7 billion smartphone owners and over 1.35 billion tablet users, all of whom have access to apps. As any tech entrepreneur knows, this creates a tremendous potential to make money. Anyone with an app idea and the means to make it a reality can potentially strike it rich. If you are one of those people, here are some things you should know about protecting your idea for an app.
All aspects of an app should be trademarked and protected, and that includes its name. You cannot underestimate the importance of trademarking the name; after all, it is the primary way in which people will find your app and download it. Before investing time, energy and marketing effort into an app, run a quick search and make sure that no one else has already trademarked the name you’ve selected.
The code is the backbone of your app. However, don’t view code as mere scientific formulas. It is no different than any other work of creative thought, and it is what makes the app possible. As mentioned above, you should trademark every part of your app, and that includes the code. To better prepare for this, talk with an attorney to make sure that the code you create is legally yours. While it sounds obvious, the rights of the code could vary, depending on whether you use independent contractors, your own employees or your own labor.
Non-disclosure agreements, or NDAs, are agreements that ensure that anyone who works on your app cannot use its code elsewhere, reveal its secrets, or use the code to profit themselves. Creating a non-disclosure agreement will prevent some business disputes from arising in your company, and they are relatively standard in the tech industry. That being said, NDAs are binding legal documents, so make sure you consult with an attorney when it comes to drafting one of these. You should also make sure that your attorney is aware of any potential state or federal restrictions that apply when it comes to these agreements. All employees and contractors must sign your non-disclosure agreement.
There’s no question that creating and selling an app can be overwhelming undertakings. The good news is that people have done it before you. To that end, talk with other developers, coworkers or attorneys about their experiences. Learn what they did right, what they did wrong and what they wish they had done differently. This will give you a much better idea about the mistakes you need to avoid making.
Your app idea is yours and no one else’s. Don’t put hours of work and thousands of dollars into a product without ensuring that you will be the one who ultimately profits from it. Follow these steps above, and you will be on your way to ensuring that your app idea is protected.