How to Protect an App Idea?

Published On: June 4, 2021
Last Updated: August 11, 2023
How to Protect an App Idea?

In the dynamic world of technology, the development of unique mobile applications has become paramount for running a successful business. The concept of an app idea has the potential to revolutionize industries, attract users, and generate substantial revenue.

However, in this highly competitive world, protecting your unique idea from theft is of utmost importance. Imagine investing resources, time, and creativity to generate a unique app idea only to have it copied by others without your consent.

We don’t want this unfortunate scenario to happen to you.

Now, you might be flooded with questions like “how to protect an app idea? ” or “I have an app idea, how do I protect it?”

In this blog, we will delve into the essential steps that give aspiring app entrepreneurs and businesses the confidence to share their idea with potential stakeholders, investors, and developers without fear of theft or compromise.

So, let’s get started.

7 Steps to Protect an App Idea

1. 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?

Legally, an app idea is not protected under copyright laws. However, when an app is developed and released, something substantial can be protected as it consists of app code, 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 to copyright an app idea? 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.

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.

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.

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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.

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. Patent an App

One question that bothers you most about the app idea is, can you patent an app? Yes!

Protecting your app idea can provide legal protection and prevent others from using, selling, or profiting from your invention without your permission.

A patent permits you exclusive rights to your app idea for a certain period allowing you to pursue legal action against any potential violation.

Before proceeding with the patent application, conduct a comprehensive search and ensure your app idea is unique and not patented.

It’s important to note that the process of patenting an app idea can be complex, so seeking guidance from a qualified patent attorney can help you increase the chances of successfully securing patent protection for your app idea.

Once you file a patent application, prepare all the necessary documentation, and await approval. The application process may include fees and can take several months or even years for approval.

Patenting your app helps you build a strong foundation to protect your intellectual property and pave the way for future success in the competitive app market.

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6. 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 an 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.

7. 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.

Wrapping Up

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.

Ravi Makhija
Ravi Makhija

Ravi Makhija is an entrepreneur, an IT professional, tech geek, founder & CEO at Guru TechnoLabs - Globally Trusted Web & Mobile App Development Company. He loves writing about new technologies and the latest trends in the IT field.