App Development, Thought Leaders

How to Protect Your App Idea

March 6, 2020

by Paresh Sagar

Have you ever had an excellent idea for a mobile app, but worry about what would happen if your idea was stolen by a competitor? Start safeguarding your idea by following these guidelines. 

Mobile apps are redefining every aspect of our lives. There is an app for everything; grocery shopping, travel planner, finance tracking and even for renting houses. This is the only reason that mobile apps are becoming the most profitable business ideas.

In the end, we all want to launch a unique mobile app that is one of a kind and helpful together for everyone. 

Imagine this scenario. You came up with an amazing idea, planned out the entire execution process, and then had a rough idea for the design in mind. 

Because you’re happy with your idea, you start discussing it with a few developers, designers, friends, and family members. Then come to find out, another similar app has been launched right when yours was about to hit the market.

All of your efforts, hard work, and research are done. Instead of impressing your target audience, you have to now prepare to beat the competition

6 Steps to Take to Protect Your App Idea From Being Copied

  1. Begin the copyright process
  2. Sign an NDA
  3. Look into outsourcing
  4. Reserve your app name
  5. Trademark the app’s name and logo
  6. Document everything 

Step 1: Begin the Copyright Process

The best way to earn the legal rights for your mobile app is to get the copyright together. 
Even though the idea of the app is yours, any developer can ask for copyrights because they created the app. They can say they are the owners as well. When signing this type of agreement, ask for all of the rights before and after the development process. 

Step 2: Sign an NDA

With any project, always sign the NDA with the developer or the development company. 

To get the best results from any developer, your vision needs to be explained freely. If you’re afraid of losing your idea, your vision probably won’t be expressed properly.

An NDA is an official contract that states whatever information will be shared between two people will be safe. An example of a sample NDA is shown in the image below.  

An NDA is an official contract that states whatever information will be shared between two people will be safe.

The agreement lists all of the parties involved, carefully detailing the importance of confidentiality. The information cannot be shared with any third person. Hence; after signing the NDA, you can explain your idea to the developers freely.

Step 3: Look into Outsourcing

It’s not new information that hiring a freelancer is much cheaper than working with a development company. But, sometimes saving the cost for app development can create a big blunder for you.

A major issue can present itself when your developers outsource your project to others. The third developer or company doesn't have any agreement or contract, which means they can build a similar application. Always make sure you are working with an experienced in-house team of developers and designers. 

Additionally, there is a risk in hiring a freelancer because what if s/he leaves the project in the middle of development? You would most likely go to a development company. The outsourced project, on the other hand, has better security and quality. 

The company provides the non-disclosure agreement, which guarantees the safety of your project. Moreover, these companies are aware of their reputation so they wouldn’t jeopardize it by doing anything wrong with your app. 

To ensure positive word-of-mouth, their team will do their best in crafting a flawless mobile app.

Step 4: Reserve Your App’s Name 

With an Android app, you can have multiple apps with the same name. But with iOS, you should reserve your app name in advance. 

Here are the steps to reserve the app name:

  1. Open your account.
  2. Click on the “My Apps” section in the top right corner.
  3. Go to “Add New App."
  4. Upload the app bundle.
  5. Press “Create," and your app name is now reserved.
  6. Once your app is ready, you can upload the app from Xcode.

After completing these steps, the rest of the process should be straightforward. Any copycats will have to figure out a different concept for their app.

Step 5: Trademark the App’s Name and Logo

The most effective way to stop others from copying your app is to trademark your work. Even if someone attempts to copy your work, there will be a trademark registered with your brand name.

Besides preventing someone from building a similar app, trademarking also allows you to have a brand identity to directly connect with users. 

Step 6: Document Everything

If you end up having to prove your case in a courtroom, ensure that everything is logged from start to finished. From the birth of the idea to its completion, everything should be saved in a written format.

Save all of the documentation for the app. Size also doesn’t matter in this case. Small documents can hold the biggest and strongest proof for your battle. 

Keep the app’s code, brainstorming blueprints, design drafts and any other relevant info stored in a separate file. 

Don’t Let Your Idea Get Stolen

Unfortunately, there are several real-life examples of app ideas being stolen. This article isn’t just a preventative reminder; it could happen to anyone. According to an Arxcan company report, 97% of the top Google Play apps are clones of popular applications.

Flappy Bird, Yo Messenger, and Uber are commonly copied apps.

Nearly a third of all games published in the App Store are clones of the popular game, Flappy Bird. Yo Messenger is one of the many companies that have had to file complaints about clone apps. In almost every company, there is a clone of the ride-sharing service Uber.

Start Protecting Your App Today

If you are someone with an amazing app idea then now you are well aware of how to protect your idea from being copied. Follow these steps and tips and no one will be able to copy your idea. 

Make sure you are dealing with a legally registered company or a freelancer. Beware of the scams and cheaters who will take your money and will return poor quality cloned app. Always try to build an app from scratch and ask for the source code from the developers.

Implement your idea quickly and start earning the best revenue from your business app idea.

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