A mobile app is a computer program designed to run on a mobile device such as a phone/tablet or watch. Mobile applications often stand in contrast to desktop applications that run on desktop computers, and with web applications which run in mobile web browsers rather than directly on the mobile device.

With the advent of technology and enormous usage of mobile phones in the hands of every age group. The companies are coming up with a large number of apps for them for their convenience and entertainment. The mobile app development is an opportunity to not only to make new apps but in intellectual property in a new business and brand that will add value to the developer. There are several legal considerations that need to be taken for the mobile app developers.

1. Own the Code: if you code your mobile app from the scratch then all the software belong to you.  For a lot of mobile apps, it takes a team of developers and software professionals from various fields to build an app. Elements of software come from open source, fro other projects, from other programmers. If you are planning to code your app from open source, be sure to get the license and read it.

If you are working with multi programmers, do make sure you consolidate it, which means one entity owns all the right to the software.  If you are going to keep people to work for you on the app then make sure that you spell a contract with them that all the intellectual property rights belong to you in that case. if you are working with the programmers on an equal partnership, then make sure you discuss form before that when the revenue is distributed it is done equally with everyone.

Written contracts are essential, establish from before who owns the code and if it is jointly owned, what right everyone has. Another way to consolidate title is to have all the programmers give their code to a company in return for an ownership stake in the company, payment, or some future promise.

2. Protect all the Value: An app is composed of lines of codes which is computer readable. That code may provide some of the value for your app. Your app may contain some kind of intellectual property right and you need to protect as much as intellectual property you can protect.

These are the best ways to protect your values present in the app:

a. Copyright on the app: You can copyright protection for the actual code of the app, but that is just not enough. An app that serves as a virtual tutorial guide through the museum, for example, may have a script that describes all the artwork. That script may be copyrightable. For an app that provides dozens of pictures of houses representing various architectural styles, each picture may be copyrightable.

b. Patent an App: Patents have been protecting software and applications for many years. Software patent often protects the way software operates and the design of user interface. Spend some time searching to see if your app looks or works like any other. If you find out something new in your app then intellectual property protection can improve your app’s protection.

c. Trademark an app: Trademark protects the logo or symbol which is attached to your product and service. Apps lend themselves for the trademark protection, but not for the name of the app.

3. Minimize your risk: Lawyers think about the difficult situation, about how he thinks could go wrong. When you design your app, think like a lawyer instead. How apps harms customers, and expose you, the developer, to liability? Is your app game where players can make-in app purchase? If so then you need to make sure how your customers make payment for those purchases. If your app is a social platform where people enter information about their lives, if so then you need to make privacy policy regarding the same, or communicate with the customers, what are you going to do with the information?

  • Explain what app does with the information your user share with
  • Explain the steps your app takes to ensure protection to the customer
  • Explain how a user will be informed in case of the breach.
  • Explain what user can do if they want to stop using that app

The policy must inform that what will happen with the information they submit. Make sure you have a clear policy and it conveys a clear language that everyone does understand. Even if you are not the big social platform, then also you must have a privacy policy, since it is important to let your customers know what to expect.

Since apps are the product so you are liable for any harm caused by the use of the product. Privacy and security are the prior concern of the app developers. One of the strategies to minimize the risk is to incorporate. Create a corporation and us the corporation to submit to the distributor. You may then be personally protected from any harm that you app may cause, and your corporation will be in a better position to ensure itself or otherwise manage the risk.

4. Read very carefully and very often: When you create an account with the app you will agree to a very long contract. Read it very carefully and be sure to understand it.  Also, see what happens as terms and conditions change with the time. Most contracts reserve the rights to update those terms so check often and see what happens with the app store.