How to Protect an App Idea?
The world has reached new heights with the introduction of unique and excellent mobile apps. Now, mobile apps are available in most sectors such as travel, education, finance, sports, etc. We can’t expect our lives without them.
Various businesses, enterprises, and startups have joined the mobile bandwagon by launching great apps.
By considering the value of mobile apps, if you are an entrepreneur or a business owner and plan to launch a mobile app, you first need an idea.
After brainstorming and researching, you got a unique app idea. Then one of the things that might be worrying you is the idea of the app being stolen. Moreover, you will be worrying more if you have shared your app idea with many investors, family members, and friends.
Hence, one general practice is to don’t share the entire app idea with anyone. If you want to share, you can share some basic details.
Another important thing you can do is protect your app idea. Why?
Because when you protect an app idea, no one can steal it before it is published.
Now, you might have some questions like How to protect an app idea? or I have an idea for an app how do I protect it?
To make your task easy, we will walk you through several ways to protect an app idea from copycats.
Moreover, these are the same ways used by various businesses and startups worldwide to protect the app idea before publishing the app.
So, without wasting time, let’s move on:
1. Choose the Right Set of Business People
If you are developing an app by yourself, then you don’t have to find anyone.
On the contrary, if you plan to outsource your app to a freelancer or app development company, you need to be careful as one of the common mistakes done by businesses worldwide is getting involved with the wrong people.
To not face this kind of situation, one effective practice is to know your developers well. Here, it is recommended not to go with freelancers as they might leave your project in the middle.
Hence, it is better to do business with an outsource app development company. Here are some of the things that you should check to find the correct app development company.
Experience: Firstly, know the experience of a development company in building apps. Also, check their portfolio of the development company to know their work.
Establishment & History: You should check the established year of the development company on their website along with crucial statistics. Moreover, a development company will value you more as compared to a freelancer; hence, go with a development company.
Client Testimonials: You can look at the client testimonials available on the development company’s website to know their work.
Recognition: You should also check a company’s recognition on different B2B platforms such as Clutch, Freelancer, Guru, and Upwork. Also, check whether the company has received awards in the last few years for its work.
To choose the most suitable outsource app development company for your app, you can refer to our blog on how to outsource app development.
2. Sign NDA
NDA stands for non-disclosure agreement, and it is signed between two parties to protect intellectual property. Here, an NDA for app development is signed between you and the freelancer or the app development company.
Non-disclosure agreement for app idea states that both parties won’t share any of the things with the third party.
Guru TechnoLabs, being a professional mobile app development company, signs NDA for a project as per the client’s needs. Here is an example of an NDA that we have signed earlier with a client.
Most of the freelancers or development companies are ready to work under NDA. In any case, if the development company or freelancer violates the NDA, then you have the right to file a lawsuit, and the developer has to deal with finances.
If you want to get the most from a freelancer or an app development company, you should share the app idea completely; then only they can deliver you the best mobile app.
3. Reserve Name of Your App
If you want to create an android app, you don’t need to reserve an app name. The reason being, you can possess multiple apps with the same name.
For iOS, you can reserve the app name in advance. By doing this, nobody can copy your app’s name.
To reserve the name in the App Store, follow the simple steps given below:
- Visit itunesconnect.apple.com and log in with your account.
- Go to the “My Apps” section present at the top right corner.
- Click on add new app.
- Enter all the details of your app. Please remember, you will require an app bundle to complete this step.
- Click on “create” to reserve your app name.
- As soon as you have made the app, you can upload the entire app bundle from Xcode.
By following this process, you can launch your app on Apple’s app store without fear. Moreover, nobody will be able to copy the concept of your app.
To know in detail how to launch an app, refer to this App Launch Checklist.
4. Register Trademark of App’s Name and Logo
Trademarking is yet another practical method through which you can stop others from copying your app. A trademark is primarily a word, phrase, symbol, design, or a collection of all these things that determines your product or services.
Now, you might have a question, Is it possible to trademark an app idea? The answer is No.
Trademark registration’s sole purpose is to protect the appearance of the app. Hence, you can trademark the name, logo, and icon of your app.
Currently, there are many apps available in the market with a similar name, and it has become difficult for users to identify the original one.
By doing a trademark, nobody can copy the name, logo, and icon of your app. Moreover, users would be able to find & download your app with confidence.
To register a trademark of your app, you need to follow some crucial steps given below:
- Find a unique name for your app: Firstly, you need to come up with an original app name. For this, not choose a generic or descriptive name, word, or term as the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) might deny it. A better practice is to utilize different words & phrases to form a unique app name.
- Conduct thorough research on your app name: There are many apps available in the market; hence, it is a comprehensive process. There are some different “classes” that USPTO applies to apps and software to set up and distinguish them. Therefore, you need to identify a suitable class where you can trademark your app.
- Retain a trademark attorney: For trademarking an app, you need to spend enough time researching your app name, which is costly. To overcome this, you can hire a trademark attorney as he/she has expertise in the field.
- Submit the trademark for your app: Your trademark attorney will provide you with all the legal documents for trademark registration. Now, it’s your time to submit the trademark for your app. The trademark review process will consume enough time, and therefore, you should submit error-free documentation. Otherwise, the process will get delayed.
- Keep an eye on the trademark filing process: Suppose your trademark app is approved and registration is over, start the app distribution process efficiently. Now, continuously track if anyone is copying your app name, icon, or logo. Also, remove these apps as soon as possible.
Please note that one can still copy the features and functionalities of the app and release an app with a different app and logo. In such a case, it is not a trademark infringement.
5. Copyright Your App
Copyright is a popular word that comes to mind for preventing any intellectual property. It is useful to prevent anyone from copying your original work from unauthorized duplication or use.
Copyright also works well to protect a product or service. You might have a question, Can you copyright an app idea?
Unfortunately, there is not any provision to copyright an app idea. However, you can copyright an app after it is released, and it consists of app code, UI, and design.
Copyrighting is less expensive than other methods, and it prevents anyone from copying your entire application. However, if someone makes some variations while copying your app, it doesn’t cover copyright infringement.
Now the question arises, how do I copyright an app? To copyright your app, you need to follow the process given by the U.S. copyright office. The process involves:
- Visiting the eCo online system.
- Creating an account.
- Filling application forms.
- Submitting some necessary documents.
Also, you have to pay a registration fee of $35.
Lastly, by following the process effectively, you will receive copyright for your app.
6. Create a Detailed Documentation
You need to make detailed documentation enlisting all the things of your app right from the app’s ideation to the launch. You should save all the details in written format. It includes various things, such as app code, brainstorming sessions, blueprints, design drafts, etc. All of these things will be useful when you have to prove your viewpoint in the courtroom.
For instance, you should have a record of all the conversations you had with the developer or the development company, such as emails, voice calls, etc. These things will work as proof for you when any of the information is leaked.
If you have got a next-level app idea, then don’t forget to protect it. One thing you should remember is that there is not a surefire way to protect an app idea.
However, you can follow the different ways on how to protect your app idea that we have shared above.
Always ensure working with a developer or the development agency with a better reputation, following good ethics, and is ready to sign an NDA.
If you are still confused about protecting an app idea, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Guru TechnoLabs is an award-winning mobile app development company that has developed mobile apps for startups and businesses worldwide. We are ready to sign an NDA with you and protect your app idea from start to finish.