How to protect your app idea?
One of our biggest fears, when we come up with a genius idea for a mobile app, is that someone steals that idea from us. We always try to keep everything in the “gods secrets” until the moment of launch. However, if we don’t have all the skills to develop an app from the beginning to the end, we will have to work with someone and necessarily, we will have to explain our project to our co-workers.
For this reason, we have to make sure that no one copies our project. There are several strategies to make sure that doesn’t happen.
According to Copyright Alliance, “A copyright is a collection of rights that automatically vest to someone who creates an original work of authorship – like a literary work, song, movie or software. These rights include the right to reproduce the work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies, and to perform and display the work publicly.”
Although, it is not possible to copyright an idea, only the code and the UI elements of the app. Even so, it is one of the cheapest options and gives you a legal recourse to take if someone copies or steals your app.
“A patent is a right granted to an inventor by the federal government that permits the inventor to exclude others from making, selling or using the invention for a period of time. The patent system is designed to encourage inventions that are unique and useful to society.”
Patents are more protective than copyrights once its requirements are more stringent, but once again, it doesn’t protect ideas – it has to be something useful, novel and non-obvious.
A patent will protect the functionalities of your app and also any variations and independent development of the same app by a competitor.
Keep in mind that a patent is an expensive process. It can cost more than the app itself.
Name Protection/ Trademark
“A trademark is a brand name. A trademark or service mark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services.”
Trademarks help you to safe words, symbols, icons and logos, which are associated with your app, from others. This also includes all the services or features that your app provides.
Trademarks don’t protect your idea but the documentation required puts a “mark” on your development timeline, which can save you from anyone who questions the timing of the idea development.
Non-Disclosure Agreement – NDA
A Non- Disclosure Agreement – NDA is one of the most common options taken by multiple companies to protect their intellectual property.
In a really easy way, an NDA is a simple way to ensure that all the information shared is confidential between all the involves, whether they are developers, designers, project managers or business development executives.
An NDA offers a certain level of protection, however, it’s not 100% safe and that’s why it’s important to work with reputable companies.
Sometimes it’s hard to find the right team, even more, if you have a 5-star idea and don’t want it to be stolen. For this reason, make sure you check any and all third parties meticulously: website, testimonials, past clients, contacts, addresses, rakings, just to name a few. And don’t forget that only the app’s code and design can be protected and not the idea itself, so you really have to be careful.
We wrote an article about choosing the right software vendor a few time ago. Read it here to know more about this topic.
There is no legal process to protect your ideas but you need to take the necessary legal, procedural and technical measures to make sure that you did everything possible to save your project.
Just remember that any good project come up with a great idea so, don’t underestimate the value of good thoughts.
If you have an idea and want to move on, check our article “5 Questions to Ask Before Developing a Mobile App” or send us a message.