Over the last few years, a number of mobile apps have turned out to be a huge success in the app world. So whether it is Instagram or Whatsapp, it has managed to find a better place in people’s world with its unique idea of connecting with people.
Even though there are billions of apps out in the market, every time a new app idea pops up, people get excited. That’s the reason why there is an increase in the number of app downloads every year.
It clearly means that there is a huge potential in the mobile app industry and the entrepreneurs and startup businesses want to thrive on this idea. They want to create a unique experience for their users and customers by coming up with a unique mobile app with outstanding features and functionalities.
So if you are planning to make your impact in the world of mobile apps, you will need to have an amazing app idea on mind and efforts put in place to protect it. There are risks of your app idea getting stolen from you by the people who are working on the project with you, your rivals as well as other business consultants.
So, how can you stop someone from taking all the credit of an idea which you had in your mind in the first place?
Now, this is not something new and people have done their part to protect their app idea. Some people had to get it done the hard way and this does not mean you should have to face the same too.
There are several ways in which you can protect your app idea from getting nicked or stolen and the same has been explained below:
How to Protect your App Idea from Idea Bogeymen
Copyright your app
When it comes to protecting any intellectual property, copyright is one of the most popular term used. However, there is something that you need to know too. It is not possible to copyright an ‘idea.’ The UI elements and the code in the app can indeed be copyrighted, but then it works only when someone completely copies the idea without coming up with a variation. Again, copyrighting the app is a cheaper option and it protects the app idea from the copiers by offering a basic level of protection.
Getting a patent
Getting a patent is not an easy thing as it seems to be. However, it has to be noted that you can get a patent to protect your app idea or code as a part of protecting the intellectual property. Now the issue here is that it is tricky to get patent as people mostly go for to safeguard their invention. To get patent for your software idea, it can take time and in some cases it might take around 2-3 years.
Once you have managed to get patent for your app idea, you can easily protect the functionalities provided by your app as well as stop from having variations of it. You need to understand that only unique ideas are patentable. Again, before you make any public announcements, you need to have all the necessary information related to the same. It is always recommended to work with your attorney very closely for all the decisions.
The only issue with this step is that patenting your app idea is not a cheap thing and you may end up spending more than what it would cost to build an app. You can save yourself some time and money by going for a provisional patent which will be valid for a year. It is even possible to issue patents for 20 years. This means you will have enough time to try your idea and make it fruitful. Again, this will ensure your idea remains safe from others while you concentrate on making it better.
Trademarks are used to stop the use of symbols related to your brand or products or services like logos or icons by anybody else. Apart from restricting the use of icons and logos, with trademarking, you can stop others from using the names you have given for your features or services. This will stop your rival companies to follow your footstep and gain a place in the market quickly.
If you look at the top-selling apps in the market, you will see that you easily recognize them based on their logo, color used in there and the font styles used. Chances are there that others use your app name or logo if you don’t protect it from getting counterfeited. Trademarks stop others from using names, logos, and icons which are similar to yours; developed with the intention to fool your customers and trick them in purchasing their products. Any legal issues or potential lawsuits can be avoided with trademarking. Just by spending some money, you can legally get a trademark for the name of your app as well as for your brand.
Use of non-compete agreement
By having a non-compete agreement, it becomes possible to protect the trade secrets getting revealed to the rival company by the people. By getting into such an agreement, you can stop the professionals and developers from working on any other project that competes with yours directly. With such an agreement, the developers are bound to not work on such projects after your project is completed.
Now the issue here is that in a technical sense the developers will not be able to work on other projects during this said time interval and so it will add up the expenses at your end along with the app development costs. If money is not an issue, then you should definitely go-ahead for a non-compete agreement for ensuring the safety of your app.
Choose the right people for your business
Reserve the name of your app in the app stores
There is another approach to save your app and these deals with the app name. If you have an app idea which you believe is going to be successful and chances are more than your rivals can copy its name too then you should not take a chance. This is very important because chances are more that, the other app may attract your potential users. So, you should better protect your app by reserving its name in the app store. There are specific guidelines available to reserve your name in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. So make sure you follow them and safeguard your app name from getting used up by others. This is very important because you may be losing your users to a duplicate app which comes with a similar kind of name.
Protecting your trade secrets
It is crucial for you to protect your trade secret and for this; you need to establish processes within your business organization. While your app is in its development stage, your employees should not make your app idea public. Now you need to be careful with this as your app marketing strategy would start at the early stage itself. This means at the initial stage; you need to release some information about the app.
Some of the things which you can do to protect your trade secrets are:
- Confidential information should have limited access
- Secure confidential information by identifying and labeling them.
- Information security processes should be monitored regularly.
- Contractors and employees should be trained on information security policies and practices.
Stay away from infringing the work of others
Control the distribution
You need to be careful even when your app is developed and ready for launch. It is very important that you do not let the app development companies to upload your app on the app store using their accounts. Instead of making that happen, you should create your own account with all the needed details. Once the app is ready to be launched, you should use this account and avoid all other channels. You can always change the access rights once the app has been uploaded over the app store.
Keep calm and not get over-stressed thinking your competitors would take away your app idea. All you need is to take the necessary precautionary steps and you will not have anything to worry about. There are chances that your app may look like a number of other apps in the app store, but once you have done your work to make it look innovative, you will be able to make your own place in there. Make sure you carry out timely updates and add in unique features in your app from time to time. This will ensure it leads the game for a long time.