If you have an idea for an app, chances are you’re afraid to tell other people and even your friends about it because you don’t want your software application idea to be stolen. Trying to find the best way to protect your mobile app idea from being stolen when discussing your idea with a third party or developer? For starters, you should require that an NDA be executed between your company and any person or entity that you disclose anything proprietary to about your app idea. You should also have a contract in place between you and the developer spelling out in clear plain English what is being built or created and who owns the intellectual property rights or code. Experienced leading mobile app development agreement attorney Andrew S. Bosin provides legal advice & counseling on protecting mobile app intellectual property, inventions, source code and trade secrets. We get calls every week from people contacting us about how to protect their mobile app idea from being stolen by developers. Could it happen that a developer steals your idea? Sure, anything is possible. But any developer in the US who would even think about stealing a client’s idea won’t be in business very long. People also ask about signing non-disclosure agreements and filing for patent protection.
So how can you protect your app intellectual property rights:
Non-disclosure agreement – Although this is not the same thing as filing for and receiving patent protection short of filing for a patent this is probably the best and cheapest way to get your developer to either shut up about what they are building for you and/or not steal your ideas or inventions. One quick tip: if your developer is not located in the state you are in make sure that the NDA states that the developer will agree to subject itself to being sued in your state if it violates the agreement.
Build The App. Go ahead and build the app. I can’t tell you how many people I speak to who are so concerned about their ideas being stolen that not only has their app not been built they haven’t even had the wire frames drawn yet. Just make sure that the agency or provider or freelancer you are hiring agrees in writing up front to release the copyrights to you at the end of your project. That is once you have paid your bill in full, the intellectual property is yours. Be aware that technically a developer or designer who creates your app design and code owns it. So get it upfront in writing that once they are paid off, it’s released to you.
Trademark your app. For $500-2000 you can legally trademark your app’s name and brand. You can try to do this yourself and file directly for a trademark with the US government. Or, you can use one of the ubiquitous services that you see all over the internet. Registering your trademark means that anyone else doing a search of your trademark will plainly see you’ve got it stamped and registered.
Patents. I would never discourage anyone from filing for patent protection. The downside is two fold however. It is very costly and the process is extremely long. If you do have something you think is worth filing a patent for that’s great, but don’t wait. Get your app built and get the copyright and trademark protections.
Andrew S. Bosin is a mobile app development IP attorney who can help you or your company protect and secure the licensing and monetization of your app ideas and inventions. Andrew has a nationwide mobile app practice with offices in New Jersey.
Please call Andrew for a free legal consultation at 201-446-9643.
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