Nurturing an app idea into a successful app that takes the app market by storm could be a long and tiring journey.
But, there is something that could scare you off even trying to make the app: the unfortunate possibility that your app idea will get stolen and that someone else will receive all the fame and limelight you deserve.
However, if you follow some precautions, then you do not need to spend sleepless nights worrying if someone will steal your intellectual efforts.
So, it is not a bad idea to be alarmed and take some cautionary measures to make sure your idea is protected. Here is how you can do it.
Copyrighting an idea is one the cheapest and easiest ways to protect your app idea. So, as soon as you start with app production, make sure that you get the app idea copyrighted.
But, you must remember that copyrighting does not necessarily protect you from so called inspired knock off apps. This is because you can actually only copyright your code and UI elements.
Copyrighting therefore does not effectively cover an app idea and you should thus not stop with this step.
Opting for trademarking can be your next effective strategy against those who steal ideas. Trademarks allow you to prevent other developers from exploiting your brand image.
You can thus protect your app’s user interface design, logos, font styles and feature names from being used by other similar apps.
This helps you stand out and ensure that no one else shares in the fame that belongs to you. Trademarking is thus effective in winning against your competitors as it makes sure that your app looks unique and different in its own way.
Several top apps, such as Instagram and Angry Birds, have effectively associated their brand name and image with their apps and made sure that users could always find them with their trademarks. Learn from these biggies and make sure that you trademark your app.
A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) between two parties is made so that certain trade secrets are kept hidden from anyone not directly involved in the project.
They are often used when there is an exchange of confidential information. Some of the vital points covered by an NDA include the names of the parties involved, an outline of the confidential information, the conditions and legal exceptions, and the duration of the confidentiality in years.
Signing an NDA is thus the most widely used method to protect software projects.
During the app development, NDAs should be signed by whomever you contact with regard to your app development. This will ensure that the app idea stays within closed walls.
You should thus always make sure that you only work with people who are okay with your NDA.
Get Legal Help
If you are new to NDAs and trademarking procedures, it is always a good idea to hire a lawyer to guide you through the processes.
Do not get overwhelmed with the idea of hiring a lawyer by thinking it will be expensive. It could be very useful in many aspects and not all attorneys are expensive.
Record All Your Operations
You should remember that, even though signing NDAs is a good precautionary measure, they do not offer foolproof protection.
When an actual information breach occurs, things can get more difficult than you think. This is because it is quite difficult to prove a breach and take the legal action dictated in the NDA.
Hence, you need sufficient documentation to make sure that your claims are supported. You can collect these documents and prepare yourself for the worst by keeping track of every single action you take during the app development.
You should thus record every discussion, brainstorming session and meeting and document everything in an organized manner.
Getting patents for your app may be one of the safest ways to protect it, but it is unfortunately also the most difficult way.
This is because applying for a patent can be a lengthy and expensive process which requires you to submit the proper application along with supporting materials. You should also note that you can only get patents for new ideas.
But, there is a workaround for this issue. You can secure your novel app idea with a provisional patent that lasts up to a year and thus delay app stealers from releasing their knock offs.
Plan Your Release Strategy
Planning a strategy for your app’s release is more a trick to make sure that your app stays unique and ahead of the competition.
Your strategy should include steps for releasing your app features in batches so that you always have something new to offer your users.
In this way, even when somebody copies your initial release, you will always have something unique to offer in the next upgrade that is unknown to the outside world.
Finally, you should always choose the right people to work with. Do a quick background check and make sure that you leave the job in the right hands.
When following the abovementioned precautions, you will be sure that people cannot steal your vision, even if they do steal your idea. So, go ahead and turn your dreams into reality.