How To Protect An App Idea

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    Have you finally finished developing the application, completed all the tests, and are anxious to upload it to AppStore and Google Play? But it’s better not to rush: first, make sure that unscrupulous competitors do not copy your solution.

    In this article, we will explain how to protect apps. The first thing that comes to mind is to patent your works’ results to protect them from being copied. But you cannot formally patent an application as an object. However, you can defend what it is made of: interface, code, design, music, and other details. The more items you patent, the better the protection will be.

    Mobile application as intellectual property

    A mobile application is not just software specially designed for a specific platform (Android, IOS). A mobile application is a complex development that collects a number of intellectual property objects. Since mobile applications are a logical development of Internet sites, we can safely talk about great opportunities for working with various data.

    How To Protect An App Idea
    Copyright law can only protect how an idea expresses itself, it doesn’t protect the idea itself.

    Unfortunately, ideas just float in the air and cannot be defended unless they are transformed into form. For example, if you have an idea to launch a mobile application, you first need to write a program. The program as a code can already be protected. If there is an idea to produce an alternative form of energy, but there is no money for experiments and prototypes, then drawings, sketches, and a technical description of the essence of your idea will be enough for patenting.

    Why is it necessary to register ideas, inventions

    Registered rights in the form of titles of protection always give you advantages – from basic protection of your intellectual property to investment in your company. So, without titles of protection, you will not be able to prove your case in the courts or law enforcement agencies, and when attracting investments in a company or selling all assets, registered intellectual property objects increase the value of your company by order of magnitude.

    Mobile application protection methods

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    Trademark certificate

    As we have already said, the application gains its fame and popularity among users due to its name and logo, which is displayed on the screen of a mobile phone. Registration of these objects as trademarks will provide you with a number of advantages. You will be the owner of the exclusive right. That is, you will be able to dispose of the trademark at your discretion, including prohibiting third parties from using it illegally under penalty of liability, as well as transferring the right to use the trademark for monetary reward. In addition, the registration of a trademark may be a prerequisite for cooperation with platforms selling applications (App Store, Google Play, Xiaomi, etc.).

    Certificate of deposit of a work- how to copyright an app idea

    In the process of developing a mobile application, you create a lot of other materials: drawings, articles, technical specifications, application algorithm, interface, music, etc. These materials are copyright objects, which should be deposited if desired. In the event that further disputes arise about the ownership of copyright, the certificate of deposit will be substantial evidence and will help the author in how to protect an app idea.

    Some more tips

    It is best to protect all possible application elements to ensure comprehensive protection of your intellectual property.

    And finally, a few recommendations:

    Even if you are impatient to share screenshots of the interface or code snippets, it is better not to publicly available them (at least until you get a certificate or patent). This way, you will save yourself from stealing your work.

    To avoid litigation with employees who had a hand in creating the application, fill out the appropriate assignments to develop intellectual property results, or specify the necessary conditions in the contracts. Don’t forget to ascribe and pay employees.

    app name
    Apply for a trademark to protect your app name.

    When developing application elements with external contractors, use a copyright agreement, and do not forget to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to avoid the solution results revelation.

    Do not forget that in case of litigation and proving your authorship, certified documents confirming the publication of the work can also help.

    The most effective way of how to protect app idea is to implement it

    There are no unique ideas in the world. If an app idea came to someone’s head, then, for sure, there are a dozen or two more people who have the same idea wandering in their heads.

    Moreover, all of them are at different stages of its implementation:

    • Someone is still thinking about it.
    • Someone is afraid to share it with someone.
    • Someone has assembled a team and is already doing it.


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    This means that if someone has a good idea in their head, they need to implement it faster; otherwise other people who come up with the same or a very similar idea will implement this idea. Keeping your idea to yourself or doing it quietly in the kitchen in the evenings, you have a huge chance of simply not being on time. And “your” idea will be made by someone else. 


    Patenting inventions is important and necessary, but it is not at all the first thing to do when you start a startup. Many companies only started to deal with intellectual property protection after they started generating profits.

    In addition to legitimate methods (registration of copyright or patents, NDA, etc.), it is desirable to use business methods – to compete with the quality of the product and a good reputation.

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