The biggest case known is the two giants Apple and Microsoft squaring off in court soon after Windows 2.0 showed a significant upgrade. Apple accused its biggest rival of stealing the graphical UI idea that they had on their Macintosh without their permission. It is not just two giants, there are innumerable cases observed all across the globe where ideas were plagiarized and used by others.
Most applications on Google Play, according to market experts, are clones of popular applications. Plagiarism or stealing ideas is inevitable and it is practically very difficult to avoid and stop it. Even though there are stringent clauses and stricter rules and regulations, cloning or stealing app ideas has been in practice for the past several years.
It is also worth noting that most applications would have the same features and facilities you may find in apps from the same industry; for instance, all food delivery apps would have the same features such as a listing of dishes and restaurants, an ordering system, payment gateways, and real-time tracking of food parcels. Even though you want to make it unique, it is practically not possible because the requirements are the same.
Do you want to get hit by that betrayal? Do you have an app idea that you want to make exclusively yours? Do you want to protect app ideas so that their success will be wholly yours? Use this guide as a breakthrough to own your app idea and save it from being stolen.
What is an app idea?
An app idea is a concept of having an app for a particular business or process. The concept includes everything from A to Z, and the facilities are provided through app features. For instance, if you have a unique mobile app idea for rendering 3D models for a furniture shop so that users can use augmented reality to superimpose sofa sets in their hall, the entire idea can be taken on to an application through customization. This makes a complete idea of the AR furniture showroom.
A mobile application idea can address a specific need or solve a problem in a unique way. The idea can range from simple applications or games to complex software that integrates with various services or technologies.
A good app idea should have a clear purpose, a unique value proposition or USP, and a well-defined set of features that align with the user’s needs and expectations. Also, providing solutions to common challenges faced by users can be the key to making your mobile app idea successful.
How do app ideas get stolen?
It is not unknown that one keeps telling and talking about their business ideas to friends and family members. Intentionally or unintentionally, ideas get leaked by people in one or the other way while discussing matters.
Other than that there are many other different ways that your mobile app idea can get stoles.
Hacking or Data breach
Hiring developers without a contract or necessary verification
Having to discuss your app idea with other business owners without signing a confidentiality agreement
There are also chances that your ideas are jotted down on some paper or are sent to someone via email and they become public. Ultimately, when you tell someone about your business idea about the application, it is likely that the information is not secure and limited to your sources.
What preventive measures should you take to protect your app idea?
You have an Idea for a mobile app and it’s good and can make you successful. After understanding that you also understand that ideas can be stolen. Now it’s your time to use all the necessary preventive measures to protect it and make your app idea secure.
Verify whether your idea is unique
The first thing you need to check is whether your own idea is not copied! Otherwise, it is like a boomerang that would backfire on you! Before you sue someone, if your idea is copied, you will be booked for copyright infringement by others. There are agencies that help you check the plagiarism or copyright issues from multiple sources.
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Copyright the application
The first thing you need to do towards protecting your app idea is to go for the copyright. It is one of the most trustworthy ways to save your ideas from being stolen. Copyrights protect you from app developers and other companies who work on your project or ideas to conceptualize them into a digital product. Copyright also works on source code, graphic design, and other app structures that include physical and intellectual properties.
It is not always that copyright shall protect your code by all accounts. Despite Apple and Google’s powerful security, it is plausible that the source code of your application could be fetched through jailbroken phones; however, if you have a copyright in place, it allows you to take strict legal action against the offender.
Make it a patent
Ideally, a patent is reserved to protect physical inventions such as products or formulas as they help secure the ideas, abstracts, or concepts of businesses. Patents are granted only to an invention or a product that is unique and not thought of before. Hence, patents are proofs of original works. You can protect your app idea by patenting it at authorized bodies.
Sign NDA with your mobile app development company
Non-Discloser Agreement (NDA) is one of the most powerful contracts to fight plagiarism or the stealing of an idea. To protect your app idea, you should sign a non-discloser agreement with development service providers. The most important part is that renowned mobile app development companies have NDAs and relevant contracts in their policy for almost all projects they engage with.
Sign NCA with your app development partner
Just like a non-disclosure agreement, there is a non-compete agreement (NCA) that prevents mobile app development companies you work with from sharing the app’s functionalities and secrets with anyone including your peers or competitors, or even themselves. A non-compete agreement is in force when your project is getting developed for a specific period. You can also extend the agreement as per the rules and regulations applicable. A long-term agreement would prevent or make it costlier for future clients of the same mobile app development company to have similar business ideas or apps.
Register your app name
A lot depends on the product or company’s name; therefore, reserving the app name is a good step to save your business idea from being stolen. It is not possible to have the same name on the app store because Apple and Google Play stores don’t allow duplicates in the names. There are certain clauses that apply to even names that sound like the original ones. For instance, Reabook and Reeboc for Reebok.
Trademarking the app logo
Just like an application’s name, the trademarks and logos also carry the flair of your company’s products and services. When you have a unique app idea to protect, along with registering the app name, reserving the trademarks and logo is the best idea to save your property from being stolen. Such trademarks won’t allow others to dilute your brand’s value by having a similar logo.
One more way to protect your app idea from thieves on the Internet is to have solid documentation of your entire mobile app business plan. Developing a habit of documenting everything is not a bad idea because one or another way you are securing your business concept or idea from others. Also, in a legal battle, such documentation is of great use as you never know what you require and when.
Be careful about disclosing information
It is quite common to tell others your business ideas and concept enthusiastically. Hold your horses while distributing anything that is related to your critical app ideas. You never know who leaks the information and when; thus, talk about your business concept to fewer people and entities. This shall help you in app idea protection.
This phase is very important especially when the mobile app development is in the process, which includes several steps and deliverables. It is not uncommon that app owners to talk about their product being developed to press reporters, friends, and other competitors. There are incidents wherein the competitors were quick to get the gist of the app idea and developed their own products even before the original products were launched. Similarly, when the idea is in the making, you should avoid talking about it to anyone except those involved in your business such as partners, stack holders, and finance funders.
Choose the best mobile app development company
Top mobile app development companies are committed to their work and loyal to their customers. They would have a perfect track record of working on projects secretly without leaking any information or crucial data to anyone including third-party of any kind or API providers; hence, you must consider your app development outsourcing to such service providers.
Though there is NDA in place, you should find and select a company through various checks and verifications before hiring to turn your app idea into life. Not just the company, but also remote mobile app developers for hire such as freelancers should follow the strict norms of not disclosing your app ideas and business concerns to others. Discuss with your development service providers and make it all clear before they kickstart the project.
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So, is your app idea protected?
The guide took you through various aspects to prevent app idea stealing or plagiarism. So, is your app protected? Do you want any assistance to protect your business concept so that only you own the success that has come from your hard work? If yes, don’t delay and start working on taking the necessary steps to protect your mobile app idea now.