Top 7 Legal Issues to Consider in Mobile App Development

August 23, 2018

It’s no secret that the app business is a profitable niche and has fewer barriers to entry. The demand for mobile software development is increasing widely. As the Statista portal states, global mobile app revenues are forecasted to reach 188.9 billion U.S. dollars by 2020 via app stores and in-app ads.

The main issues for you as a future product owner, are the business idea, value proposition, and the development cycle. The application development faces all the same legal issues as every other business area. However, you need to keep in mind that potential pitfalls and juridical aspects of the app security may arise.

It’s important to consider the key legal considerations to structure things properly and run the business successfully.

openGeekLab has prepared some useful tips on how to make things right, Keep on reading.

The Crucial Legal Issues to Protect Your App

1. Jurisdiction

If you launch the app in an international market, you must ensure that a future product complies with local laws. Before marketing and distributing an app abroad, get a lawyer to run your case and help with all the legal work. Such cooperation enables to avoid possible confusions regarding the laws of the countries where a product will be released.

2. Incorporate a Business to Limit Your Liability

Your responsibilities depend on how you will operate your business. You can act as a sole trader, become a partner in a partnership, or form a limited liability company.

An LLC is considered a right structure to limit your liability and protect personal assets if any problems arise.

3. Confidentiality Agreement to Protect Your Business Idea

In order not to expose your business idea to possible stealing or competition, sign a confidentiality agreement before sharing it with the mobile development company and discussing the workflow.

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is considered the most familiar way to protect your product and maintain confidentiality. An NDA agreement for app development is no guarantee that your business idea security is wholly ensured, but it will significantly help in taking legal action against anyone who violates the terms of it.

4. Intellectual Property Rights to Prevent Your Product from Copycats

How to secure an idea for an app? You need to ensure that all intellectual property rights of your app contents, design, and code are the property of your company, and not belong to the people who create the product. There are three ways assigning intellectual property rights and protecting your app idea—trademarks, copyrights, and patents.

Copyright may protect the app’s source code, design, content. The source code may also qualify for trade secrets.

You can trademark the app name, slogan, brand name, and logo. If you market your product internationally, you can adopt global brand protection strategies that help to protect your app from any infringers in the target countries.

You can also get patent protection.

5. Contract Issues

Signing a contract is essential for a product owner and a development company. An application development agreement defines the responsibilities of both parties, rights to the technology, the deliverables, costs, workflow, timeline. Include a confidentiality clause, specify code ownership, and terms of use of open source software.

6. A Privacy Policy

As the Statista data shows, 37% of Americans take proactive measures regarding the data protection.

In case of collecting users’ personal information, your responsibility is to include a privacy policy, be transparent with users about what data you may access and why it’s needed. You must assure people that you protect their personal information and keep it secure.

Pay particular attention to the requirements of Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act if children under 13 can use the app. Before dealing with personal data from children, post a privacy policy and obtain parental consent.

Ensure that your mobile app complies with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, other international and local data protection laws, requirements, legal guidelines, and regulations.

Carefully examine the App Store legal guidelines and article called ‘Protecting the User’s Privacy”. Look through the Google’s Privacy Policy Guidance.

7. The Right App Legals

When you prepare your app for release on the App Store or Google Play Market, you must agree to their terms and conditions. But you aren’t insured against any legal risks as the app stores protect their businesses, not yours. Therefore, set your rules that users must agree and follow to download and use your mobile app. It’s also vital to create the right disclaimer.

Moreover, if there are in-app ads, you need to ensure that the content complies with advertising, marketing, and promotion laws of the countries where you distribute the product.

Conclusions

As you see, a wise legal compliance strategy in the app development process will help to minimize the legal risk and protect your intellectual property rights. You can deal with most legislative issues efficiently with a trustful development company. Reliable companies meet the majority of legal requirements and take precautions to minimize your liability and help your business to achieve success.

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