Friday, 9 October 2015

Developing a mobile application: The legals

By December 2015 , the app penetration in US is touted to reach 85%. Conventional trends suggest that app usage is directly proportional to the number of smartphone owners. Therefore, with rising number of smartphone users, app penetration is not surprise. App development and distribution however, is not a cakewalk. Knowledge on the legal aspects is imperative for every organization.
We list some of the most important legal nuances involved in dealing with iOS / Android application development company.

Signing up NDA with your vendor
The most important aspect is to sign a Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) with the vendor. As the vendor is now legally bound from going public with your data and business secrets, your business is safe. Otherwise there is always a risk that they may divulge important details to your competitors.

IP Ownership and copyrights
An app development process involves a series of smart aspects such as functional descriptions, wireframes and documentation. Paying attention to minute details in the step by step process is imperative. This provides the scope to sue the vendor in case the app is unable to fulfill your requirement. Moreover, you must clearly define the IP ownership of your app as the app vendor writes the IP address for you.

App development contract
The contract must clearly define on the SOW (Scope Of Work) by the vendor (as well as you). It should have details of the resources, how many app developers will they hire/assign for your project, what the vendor will bring to the table etc. A good measure would be addition of a secrecy clause along with others such as post sale service (and it’s tenure) etc. This ensures maximum protection at your end.

Intellectual property rights
Since your app has access to business data and secrets, you must have intellectual rights of the app. To top it all, these rights curb unauthorized access to crucial things such as source code, documentation, images etc.

Protecting yourself
You must have the knowledge of rules governing the app development, distribution and usage of the country you are launching your app in. Different countries have different rules. Moreover, you must cater to Google’s / Apple’s precise requirements in order to avoid removal from app store, or app suspension.

Setting out the legal terms
The client and app vendor must decide on things that directly influence the future development and app usage after it’s delivery. Some of the legal terms that are a must to include:

Usage terms: You must put forth some do’s and dont’s as the working basis of the app. Legal implication in the event of breach also have to be stated here.
Privacy: You must outline the nature and scope of data collected from your users and through the application and the possible uses for avoiding future legal implications. This data can be date of birth, location etc.

Terms & conditions: This is a very essential aspect. You absolutely have to disclose the financial charges associated with usage of your application. And this must be a voluntary step.
Disclaimer: In the event of unavoidable circumstance like app malfunctioning etc., you must secure immunity from the law of land.

It is important that you know of these rules before even setting out for mobile app development as once you've launched it, modifying it as per the rules can be difficult and resource intensive. A good idea is to hire an app developer who has experience and knows Google and Apple quite a good measure. Moreover, you must join hands with a good legal representative in order to avoid complications later.

1 comment:

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