Since I started my journey as a Non-developer creator I must say I hear this question a lot, and after months of researching and talking to lawyers and even recurring to specialized agencies that protect Ideas and Brands and a ton of stuff, I Think I’m Pretty Sure I can clear this for you.
If you have a great App or Software Idea and you are worried that someone else is going to steal it from you. you probably have asked yourself How Can I Protect My App Idea?
The Simple Answer is you can´t protect your App Idea but you can protect other aspects of it.
That being said there are some steps you can take to minimize the risk of getting your Idea Stolen.
Many people are concern that a developer might steal their idea and make millions with it, and you will never see a dime from your great and well-thought Idea.
And the truth is that if your idea is not executed it´s worthless, and you might have to take the risk to see if your idea is the next WhatsApp, Uber, Facebook.
you might have one of those Unicorns in your hands.
Who Do You Talk To About Your Idea
This is a simple but very important thing to have in mind, a human being usually likes getting validated by peers and likes to tell them about our great ideas and how they can change the world, there is only one big problem, actually two.
The first one is that if you get positive feedback your brain gets a false sense of accomplishment and it will think you actually achieve the task already. which you haven’t, believe me, this has happened to me multiple times.
The second one is even more destructive than the first since you only get the bad feedback you will reinforce the idea that you are the one that is wrong and you will not succeed, and we love being right so you will sabotage yourself to be right.
You Might Be On The Right Track
When you encounter, these two problems of good feedback and bad feedback you might actually be on the right track, you can find online how many times people judge the ideas, and afterward, the creators proved them wrong.
Apple, Microsoft, Tesla, and many others are clear examples of what people attacked and then praised.
3 Steps To Protect Your App Idea When Talking
1. Talk About The Big Picture
the devil is in the details, and this is also true for apps and software.
You can never speak about the details of your idea because this is what makes it great and awesome so be very brought about the idea when you share it.
If done correctly the response you get from others might be, ¨Thas nothing new¨ Someone already did that and it wasn’t that great.
2. Speak As If Someone Else Is Doing It
First of all, this is not lying I actually think that my alter ego is a developer and when I talk to people I tell them I have this crazy friend that has an idea, then ill will ask them about how crazy he is, sometimes they comply others they defend the crazy developer.
3. Change The Concept
There are a lot of simple steps you can take to change the concept when I talk to developers to see how long and costly my project would be if I outsource it.
So I usually tell them it’s marketed to businesses, which is not true, and I emphasize that it will have the company branding on several parts of the design.
this makes them think it is internal development.
Some Ideas On How You Can Protect Your Idea Legally
NDA (Non Disclousure Agreement)
This is one of the best weapons you can have on your first line of defense.
Usually, these NDA means It is a contract through which the parties agree not to disclose information covered by the agreement.
An NDA creates a confidential relationship between the parties to protect any type of confidential and proprietary information or trade secrets.
As such, an NDA protects non-public business information. You can check this out directly from Wikipedia
You will probably never use this in real life, but it makes it clear you mean business when you are talking to someone about your idea, and they probably have to pay a lot of money if they act on your idea or spread the word.
Utility Patent Protection For APPS And Software
If you are not a lawyer you will find this as interesting as watching paint dry, but as any good painter know the finished product is ready after the paint is dry.
I know I’m not god with analogies and actually not really god with lawyer mumbo-jumbo.
Now I don´t usually recommend this option since it usually takes about 2 years to patent your app if patent-able and it may cost you between $10.000 to $20.000 so if you have unlimited resources go ahead.
The average cost of filing a trademark application is $775, and the total cost is usually around $1500, and the registration of issues in less than a year.
But let’s be honest to do we actually have the money to invest in protecting an idea that might not be successful?
As a non-developer, I surely prefer to spend my money making my ideas a reality.
If Your Idea Is Cost Effective Protected
Yes if your app is making money monthly and the cost is worth it. the decision is simple to do it. if not you have to follow the industry standard and start building new apps.
A lot of developers count on the volume of apps and software to make their company a success.
remember that Angry Birds was the, 52 project on the companies list and they were nearly bankrupts.
If You Want To Protect Your Idea
So the purpose of this post is not to discourage you from protecting your idea, in fact here is an inexpensive resource you can get for no more than 5 bucks.
It has awesome information, not only applicable to brands but also for apps and other types of concepts you will find it most useful at many levels, and who knows becoming an expert in protecting ideas may be the best path on a high-income career.
Main Reason Not to Stress About Protecting Your Idea
So you are wondering why I left this subtitle for last. Well, it’s mainly so you can make up your own mind about what actions you should take to protect your valuable Idea. and ill cover various important parts that could end up costing you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Reverse Engineering Apps
There is a whole army of people that love this concept simply because they have the know-how and can.
but also cuz it’s the easiest way to get a project to fulfill fast.
I know what you thinking and this is unethical and illegal. well, there is a huge gray area depending on how you wish to view this.
You can find lots of people that can make an improvement on an idea, system, or product.
In fact, there is an innovation specialist that takes this task on everything they do. make it better faster more convenient and Usually get it done.
I would like to make this very clear with an example of two well-known companies.
UPS United Parcel Service was the biggest and fastest shipping company in the US you could say it was a monopoly since its bigger competitor was USPS which is a government agency and government own service.
And one day a former UPS employee said I can make this service faster better and more efficient and so FedEx was created.
I hope you see where I’m going with this example.
So remember as soon as you have your product out, there will be someone trying it to make it better in the first week, and if your app is up to market then you don´t have much to worry about.
Keeping Track Of Copycats
You can imagine that searching for people who are trying to steal your ideas and take legal action against them can cost you a lot of money and time.
But in some cases, you can actually get your money worth fighting for your product or idea. watch this video.
Hope this information helped you clarify what you could do to keep your idea safe or what can cost you if you don´t.