Developing an app can be exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. While apps provide us with fast and easy access to mobile tools, functions, or services at the push of a button, creating an app behind the scenes is not so simple.
There are many moving pieces and components that go into creating an app, and if the developer is not careful, he or she could risk pieces of the app being stolen or the value of the app being siphoned away due to simple intellectual property oversights.
Whether you are thinking about creating an app, or maybe you’ve started the process and now realize that you should be taking extra steps to protect your work, our attorneys would encourage you to consider the following legal tools and intellectual property (“IP”) safeguards:
Written contracts: When developing your app, you’ll want to have clear written contracts that spell out who owns any “IP” elements in question. For example, if you plan to hire outside programmers to develop your code, you’ll want to have agreements stating you own all the intellectual property rights to the software.
Copyrights: It’s not unusual to need copyrights for multiple elements of an app. The actual software code of the app is one obvious area to seek copyright protection; however, if there are specific images or graphics used in the app, or scripts for particular storylines, copyright protection for each of these elements may also be necessary.
Patents: If the software that powers your app or the design of your interface is new and novel, you may want to seek patent protection. A patent will not only prevent others from stealing your creation, but it may actually make your app more attractive to third parties who seek to license or purchase your app down the road.
Trademark: In such a saturated app development market, it’s critical to seek any necessary trademarks that can help protect your brand. Like copyrights, there may be multiple elements of your app that require trademark protection, such as the name of your app, your company’s logo, any symbols associated with your app, the icon, or even names of unique services offered through your app.
Even if your app is in the early development phase and you don’t yet have all of the pieces created addressed in this post, it’s still a wise idea to work with an intellectual property attorney from the very start of the process. Not only will your attorney help to put measures in place to prevent theft before your app is created, but your attorney will also help you explore ways to:
- Access new revenue streams, such as looking at ways to expand your app into complimentary markets you may not have thought of.
- Ensure that your app is truly unique and not infringing on the work of someone else.
- Work through everything that could go wrong with your app or expose you to liability with users/customers, so that you can fix any issues before your work goes public.
If you’re developing an app and you have questions about safeguarding your work before you launch, our intellectual property attorneys would be happy to help. Simply call 888-666-0062 to schedule a consultation.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.