How To Protect An Idea From Being Stolen – The developers of the Flappy Birds game made headlines when The Guardian discovered that nearly a third of all games released on the App Store within a 24-hour period were Flappy Bird clones.

Even more shocking is that 4 of the top 5 free iPhone games in the US App Store are Flappy Bird clones.

How To Protect An Idea From Being Stolen

How To Protect An Idea From Being Stolen

However they were not the only ones who were affected. About 97 percent of all top Google Play apps and 87 percent of App Store apps were copied in the past few years. They also have popular consumer apps like Uber.

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The consequences are clear – these clones can seriously harm your business and steal potential app users. All of these can lead to reduced revenue and loss of market share.

There are some effective measures you can take during the app development process to protect your app idea from competitors and minimize risks. In this post, we will try to present the most important ones.

There are a few different types of legal protection you can get for a mobile app. Some are more expensive than others but here is a simple overview of each type of security and which ones to consider getting;

Copyright is a form of protection granted to authors of ‘original works of authorship’. These include literary, dramatic, artistic and some types of intellectual works, both published and unpublished.

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Copyright is an obvious choice for protecting source code, in-app copy, and the graphic design that goes along with it. Obtaining copyright registration is usually a quick and inexpensive process. Here, you can learn more about how the process works. If your company is in the US If you are located in the US Might want to check out the Copyright Office. Usually, everything is done for under $1000.

Although Apple and Google have very good security procedures, someone can still jailbreak a phone to extract the source code from an app. Even worse, they can tweak a few lines of code and launch it as their own app. That is why copyright registration is one of the most important types of protection.

This gives you a legal resource if someone tries to do something similar. However, note that copyright registration does not protect the app idea. It only covers the intellectual and physical assets of the app.

How To Protect An Idea From Being Stolen

A patent is usually granted for an invention. It is a grant of property rights to the inventor. In the US, it is issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It gives inventors the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling certain inventions in certain areas where the inventor holds the patent.

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Patents carry more power because the requirements are more stringent. They protect original ideas from other businesses that are highly unlikely to come up with these ideas and inventions on their own.

To obtain a patent, your idea and all the steps that bring that idea into practice must be completely original. Patents are even more expensive than copyrights – they can cost between $8k-$15k.

Mobile apps can be patented because their components are methods of interaction; For example, a process running on a mobile phone that connects to a remote server containing data. However, the code that runs the software cannot be patented, it can only be copyrighted.

First, you have to visit the US to see it. The Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) must check whether your app will be eligible for a patent. The USPTO will look closely at whether your mobile app has ever been patented or published before.

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Because developing an invention takes time, many mobile app developers will choose to file a provisional patent application first, which is the standard utility patent application to secure a filing date.

This provisional application will require a detailed description of the invention, including additional materials such as drawings, flow charts, and illustrations of how the app works.

Some owners and mobile app developers will choose to distribute their apps through open-source licenses, whether or not they have received a patent.

How To Protect An Idea From Being Stolen

However, without a patent, the developer would not have control over the apps distributed through open-source licensing. This means that your code can easily be stolen by another developer without giving you any kind of credit.

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Most of the brands focus on protecting the app’s technology but they completely ignore the importance of protecting its name as well. The protection of the app name is what is known as trademark registration.

In the mobile app world, a trademark is used to prevent others from using your name, but it won’t prevent others from creating a similar app under a different name.

The best time for companies to trademark their name is as soon as downloads start to increase. Filing a trademark quickly is an easy and straightforward process. It usually costs less than $200.

Before settling on a name, most brands can check whether the name they want is available at the relevant patent and trademark office in their country. Consulting with a trademark attorney is also recommended on this journey.

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After completing this process, the next most important step is to reserve it on the App Store, register your domain name, and create social media accounts. You can use a random username generator to find a perfect name for your domain or social media.

In ideal situations, the project should start with the release of a minimum viable product.

Besides being effective from the point of view of executing a successful project, MVP also provides protection for your idea and project. Once an MVP is publicly available, your idea is protected by copyright just as it was originally published.

How To Protect An Idea From Being Stolen

An MVP also gives you an advantage in the market. Here are 8 steps to master MVP in the app development process.

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It is a good practice to set up Google Alerts notifications for keywords and your project name so that you can react in time if copies of your product appear online.

The simplest way to protect your app idea is who you share important information with.

Sure, explaining your app idea will be necessary in some cases, when pitching to customers and in some other situations but you don’t need to go into more details than necessary.

It’s a no-brainer – the less you expose your product, the less likely someone can steal it. Many app developers make this mistake by sharing their idea with anyone who will listen.

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Unless you plan to have your new app built by your in-house team, you’ll need to outsource its development and design to an external agency. So it is very important to work with reputable individuals and companies.

Before doing so, be sure to screen all third parties carefully. Visit their website, read testimonials, and check out their past clients. Good agencies should have portfolios and case studies listed on their websites.

A third-party developer or designer owns the code after the app is built. An important thing is to first have an agreement that states that all copyrights of the app will be released to you after the project is completed.

How To Protect An Idea From Being Stolen

An NDA, a non-disclosure agreement, is a simple way to ensure that all information shared will remain confidential between two parties. Whether it’s outsourced contractors, collaborators, consultants, potential clients or investors, an NDA will provide an extra layer of protection. You can get a free template of an NDA agreement here.

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However, NDAs do not guarantee that your idea will be 100 percent safe. It is still very important to do good research on the reputable companies you will be working with.

Some investors may be reluctant to sign an NDA, so a good rule of thumb is to include a confidentiality agreement within your business plan that is given to potential investors.

This agreement is typically used internally to prevent employees from disclosing your app idea and sensitive information to rival companies. It also prevents anyone who currently works on your project from working on another project that may be in direct competition to yours.

However, non-compete agreements must be reasonable because they can significantly limit contractors from accepting future projects even after working with you. A contractor is more likely to sign an agreement if it has a reasonable time frame.

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Your app’s security also starts at the development stage. A well-planned architecture of the app will prevent any hijacking. If your mobile app is built according to all modern security methods then you can be sure that no one will steal your code.

After putting so much effort into designing and maintaining a great app, the last thing you want is a security breach that can derail users’ trust.

The login page you use to access your app’s admin page should be less obviously disguised than the usual URL (“”, for example). Once a hacker finds your login page all they have to do is guess the password.

How To Protect An Idea From Being Stolen

By changing your default URL login page you are adding an extra layer of difficulty that will discourage hackers. Try a URL that contains random characters, remove links to the login page from your site, and even

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