As an app development company we are often asked by potential clients how they can protect their app from other individuals or companies copying their idea. So, I thought Iíd just spend a little time giving some general advice to help people understand what the limitations are.
Firstly, this is not some sort of legal advice, Iím not a solicitor and donít represent a law firm. I just work with developers and clients on a day-to-day basis so Iím just providing some advice based on my experience.
When you look at developing an app the first thing you need to understand is that as soon as you publish your idea itís immediately very public. Thatís to say most, certainly not 100%, of what youíre doing within your mobile app canít be copyrighted or patented to give you that total protection in that no one is going to copy it. Certainly the name of your app and its logo and other elements of your app can be protected but the general idea of your app is a lot harder to protect.
You have to know that if you come up with a great idea there are going to be people out there that copy you. Unfortunately, this is just the nature of the industry. In fact, even if you look at a business like Groupon youíll find that there are literally hundreds of apps out there that have copied their model and trying to do it better.
So, what can you do? Weíll, the most effective thing to do is to stay ahead of your competition. NDAís (Non-Disclosure Agreements) are great to have and we at AppCreatives take them very seriously as an organisation. We always fully respect our clientís ideas. However, you as a client really need to be focussed on how you can consistently make your idea better than your competitors.
Not only do you need to get your idea to market first but more importantly you need to continually innovate your idea. So, constantly think about ways to improve the user experience and the overall service that your app provides. Keep an eye on your competitors because they will be keeping an eye on you. Always strive to be better than them, whether this be in sales, marketing, customer service or product value. It doesnít even matter if you werenít the first to come up with your idea, the most important thing is to position yourself as the leader in your specific market.
In conclusion, I would say that you can certainly seek formal protection in the form of copyrights and patents. However, when you boil it down app development really is a free capitalist economy which means people can openly compete with each other based on the same idea. The only way to really protect your idea is to ensure that everything that supports your app such as marketing is the best it can possible be. Itís the elements that support your app that is going to prevent someone from copying your idea.
Feel free to talk to us today about your idea and how we can help turn it into reality!
By: Kim Lomas on 29/04/15