Unless you’ve seen The Social Network – you might not know how Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook. According to the movie, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss created the idea with their own social network, Harvard Connection.
When Harvard student and programmer Victor Gao resigned he referred them to Mark Zuckerberg. The twins hired Mark and gave him access to Harvard Connection’s network passwords, files, and servers. This led to Mark starting work on his own social networking site, thefacebook.
Years later, the legal battle between Winklevosses and Zuckerberg ended in a settlement worth $65 million dollars. To avoid this scenario happening to you, we’re going to outline the 5 best ways to safeguard your app idea.
1. Get a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)
A Non-Disclosure Agreement helps protects your ideas being shared by others outside of the agreement. This document is important when you’re dealing with anything tech related that requires development. An NDA should be readily available by a developer if requested. It is important to remember that the NDA only comes into effect after each party in the agreement signs the contract. Anything discussed before the NDA gets signed may not be covered in the agreement.
2. Don’t say too much
Another way to keep your app idea safe is to avoid sharing too much information about your app to others. Magicians don’t reveal their secrets, so you should not reveal too much regardless of how excited you are. Also, be selective of those you choose to tell your app idea. When speaking to friends, colleagues or app developers at the initial call, just give a brief overview or a sales pitch of your app idea. However, investors might want more in-depth information on your idea. They don’t normally sign NDAs, so you can do is add a confidentiality disclaimer in important documents.
3. Trademark your app’s identity
Trademarks prevent others from using your app’s identity. This prevents consumers from downloading counterfeit apps. protects your brand. Anything that distinguishes yourself from others, such as logos, screenshots, and phrases, can be trademarked. Protecting your identity can help build brand and icon recognition, especially if your app becomes successful. Snapchat can be easily recognised by its ghost icon and Evernote with its elephant head icon. Before applying, check if existing trademarks have been registered at IP Australia.
4. Retain documentation
It is important to keep all documents related to your app and from third parties safe. Documents you should keep safe include: agreements, contracts, business plans, trademarks and meeting minutes. These documents can be used as evidence and help you when any disputes arise or any legal situations happen during the app development process. To avoid overflowing your cabinets and drawers with documents, you can scan them to your computer and upload them to a cloud.
5. Hire a reputable app development company
Once you’re at the app development stage, it is crucial to find a trustworthy app developer. Your app idea will be kept safe and also developed efficiently. During the hunt for the right app developer, make sure to check out information such as their experience, portfolio, and client reviews. Additionally, a good app development agency will be genuinely interested in your idea, not just developing it. They’ll guide you throughout the development process, giving you advice and ideas based on their experience to make sure it succeeds in the market.
By following this guide you’ll be at peace and won’t need to worry about getting your app stolen.
For further legal advice on trademarks or NDAs, it is recommended that you visit a lawyer or legal firm with knowledge in this area.
If you have an app idea, contact us for a confidential and informative discussion!