So you have an app idea you believe is novel and has never been created. You are also aware of the need to have your app idea protected legally prior to launch, but you are uncertain about how to go about it. In this article, we’ll highlight the various ways you can legally protect your app idea after launch. Before we proceed, however, it’s important we stress the fact that an idea in itself cannot be offered legal protection. The law only offers protection to an existing invention or innovation
HOW DO I PROTECT MY MOBILE APP IDEA?
Legally speaking, there are various categories of protective measures that you can put in place to ensure the complete protection of your app invention in Nigeria. They include;
1. Intellectual property protection by way of copyright and trademark registrations
2. Protection through contracts when working with a developer of an agency
3. Have the app name registered on the Google Play Store and App Store
4. Secure your app’s domain name
We’ll consider each of them below.
1. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PROTECTION THROUGH COPYRIGHT AND TRADEMARK REGISTRATIONS
Under Section 1 (1) of the Nigerian Copyright Act, applications such as software programs are categorized under literary works that are eligible for copyright protection. Copyright registration can be used to protect both programming languages and the codes used to create the app.
Another area of intellectual property protection that will be ideal for your mobile app is trademark registration. Trademark registration can be used to protect the distinctive brand features of the app such as the name, logo, tagline/slogan associated with the app.
In Nigeria, it is very difficult to prove that your app is a new invention, and as such, registering the app as a patent might be a futile attempt.
2. PROTECTION THROUGH CONTRACTS
This is applicable in cases where you are outsourcing the app design and development to third-party developers. You need to have them sign a non-disclosure agreement to ensure that whatever trade secret or code is divulged during the development phase is not released to the public during and after the project is completed.
3. HAVE THE NAME OF THE APP REGISTERED ON GOOGLE PLAY STORE OR APP STORE
Since the app will eventually be hosted on either Google Play Store or App Store (for Apple mobile users), you may as well take the initiative to have the name registered on either or both platforms until the app is ready to launch. That way you protect an important aspect of your app (ie the name) from being hijacked even while in the Beta phase.
4. SECURE YOUR APP DOMAIN NAME
There are several domain name registration platforms with which you can secure the name of your mobile app prior to launch for a fee. Take advantage of this to avoid paying heavily for your omission in the future.
One of the major challenges of technology is the ease with which idea theft can be carried out. It is therefore not out of place to take proactive measures to secure your mobile app invention before, during, and after launch.
Need help with protecting your mobile app, please leave a message through the Whatsapp icon at the lower right part of this page or HERE, and we’ll attend to you.