App Development Series: Intellectual Property

“This idea’s mine and nobody else’s!”

Although the execution of your app is paramount, the intellectual property behind it is extremely valuable too. This begs the question: who owns your app’s idea? For that matter, who owns the code? Maybe you own the idea because you came up with it, and maybe your developer owns the code since they wrote it. The fact is, neither of these statements are technically true. At least, not without a contract.

Sooner or later, you should consider having a patent(s) on your app’s idea. It’s in your interests to make sure that nobody else can steal your idea and become a potential competitor. The more risk you feel your idea is in of being stolen, the more reason you would have to secure a patent on it.

Patents are used to block off areas in intellectual space and prevent people from infringing on your unique value. Not all unique inventions can be patented, as discussed here. However, if you’re able to patent your idea, the benefits you can reap are considerable.

Two very valuable commercial uses for your patent are:

  • You don’t want infringers to take advantage of your idea.
  • You want to control the areas of intellectual space occupied by your patent to allow for future business.

Patents themselves have a value associated with them. Your patent(s) may well contribute to the overall valuation of your company. If you ever decide to sell your company in the future, the patents you sell along with it would allow you to sell it for a higher price. Patents truly are the gift that keeps on giving. Well, at least until they expire.

Next time: Legal Concerns

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