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If you are in the process of developing an application, there are a number of key considerations to keep in mind and hurdles to overcome on the road to a successful launch.
One easily overlooked aspect is that of securing adequate protection for your creation so that it cannot be copied or otherwise exploited by third parties without your prior permission.
So what options do developers have to secure legal protection, and how easy is it to acquire even if you are part of a small scale operation?
Make use of NDAs
While some apps are built entirely by individuals, in most cases you will want to get other people involved at some point in the process.
This can be challenging if you rely on third party contractors for things like programming, design work and marketing assistance, as this will inevitably involve sharing your efforts with others outside of your organization, putting you at greater risk of leaks or IP theft.
Thankfully using a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to which contractors will need to commit before they begin work is a good way to minimize this issue. Guaranteeing confidentiality by putting it in writing will also give you legal recourse if the terms of the contract are breached.
File a patent
While filing a patent application will not always be an option for app developers, as there are complexities involved in using this type of protection for software specifically, it is certainly not out of the question.
The key thing is to get expert advice to determine whether or not your app is likely to be eligible for patenting, or whether you should instead focus on the other protections available to you instead to save time and money.
Begin work ASAP
One thing all creatives need to recognize is that copyright law is there to be used by everyone, with the only caveat being that you can only take advantage of it if you have actually built something.
So it is not enough to have a great idea for an app; if you want to make sure that no one else is able to get to market before you do on the back of this idea, you have to be willing to put in the hard work. Rather than twiddling your thumbs, get down to it as soon as possible so that copyright law is there to back you up in the event of infringement.
Make use of trademarks
Trademarking elements of your app by registering them with the relevant authorities in your region is a step to take when you are closing in on the launch itself.
You can trademark aspects such as the name of the app as well as any logos you might have designed to go along with it, allowing you to enshrine these officially and thus prevent them from being emulated by anyone else.
Searching trademarks is also a great way to see if another developer or brand has already used similar names and logos, ensuring that you do not accidentally step on anyone else’s shoes in the process.