Mobile apps are no longer a new concept in the market today. In the last few years, there have been millions of great mobile apps released to the market and majority have been a great success. These apps range from utility, games, social networking, photos and video apps. According to a survey and forecast report on mobile applications downloads, there were over 5 million apps available on the two world’s largest app store – Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. This popularity has been driven by a number of factors including the evolution of the mobile industry and the increase in the internet community. The report also estimates that the app industry will generate approximately $189 billion in revenues from app stores and in-app ads. This is a clear indicator that the app development sector is still growing and promising for the app developers and businesses.
Table of Contents
- Why Your Unique App Idea could be stolen
- Stolen App Idea and How to Deal with It
- Below Are Six Actions You Should Take To Acquire Your Stolen App Idea:
Why Your Unique App Idea could be stolen
The number of mobile users has been on the rise every year for the last one decade or so. By the year 2020, there will be about 2 billion more devices than we have today. This coined with the increasing internet connection will raise the demand for mobile apps as the world transforms into more digital-based operations. With the mobile app usage expected to expand all over the world, the app stores and developers are expected to meet the new demand with regard to the number of apps, the quality, and variety. Today, every developer and app development companies aim to build an app with the most unique functionalities and features to succeed in the growing market. The evolution of other technologies such as AI & Machine Learning, Blockchain, and IoT sparked a number of new app development designs as developers integrate their design with these trending technologies to offer more functionality and improve the user experience. The number of apps in existence today shows how fast the developers are as they seek to develop the next revolutionary app. With high tech development tools has enabled developers to build new apps more. But what is the concept behind the development? To succeed in the app industry you need to have a unique and brilliant idea that will provide users with solutions to their existing problems. Once you have a great idea, you need to think in terms of what it will cost to make an app and how well you can protect your idea from being copied or stolen. However, coming up with an exceptional app idea is not that simple and there are some people who are always busy to steal and implement other people’s ideas. If you check in the app stores today you will find many app clones and if your idea is valuable, there will be many people who would like to develop it even before you and make millions from it.
Stolen App Idea and How to Deal with It
Your app idea may be stolen by anyone from your project team members, your outsourced developer, to your business rivals. According to a recent report by Arxan, over 95 percent of top paid android apps and about 85 percent of the top 100 paid iOS apps in 2017 were cloned. It is always painful to see your idea or concept benefiting some other people at your expense. But what do you do about it? If you realize that someone has stolen your app idea, there are a number of actions you can take to gain the control of your valuable asset back.
Below Are Six Actions You Should Take To Acquire Your Stolen App Idea:
#1 Is it really a new idea –
To start with you need to establish whether the idea is really unique or whether someone could have thought of a similar app. Remember there are many mobile users facing the same problems so they are developers trying to solve the same problems. Once you have confirmed the work is originally yours, do not act in anger. Relax and act professionally.
#2 Analyse the possibility of the suspected thief could have accessed your unique idea –
Who copied your concept and how did they access your work. It could be the contractor you hired to build an app for you, a consultant or a friend with whom you share the unique app idea.
#3 Contact the culprit and ask for attribution –
A good and peaceful way to deal with such a case is to contact the person or company involved in a civil manner and ask them to attribute it to you. Let them give you credit for the idea. In some cases, you may agree on a portion of the revenue generated from the app developed.
#4 Cease and Desist Notice –
Assuming that you have enough proof that the idea is originally yours and that the suspect had access to the blueprint, you can send them a strongly worded letter to serve as a takedown notice. The letter should demand that the alleged thief stop using the copied or stolen idea with immediate effect or after a certain period of time, say 1 month. If you have no idea on where to start, you can get a professional lawyer to draft the letter on your behalf.
#5 Inform the App Store –
Another way is to get the app developed from your idea removed from the app store by reporting the infringement. The App store can remove or reject a new cloned app if you can prove the ownership of the original idea. For the 3 major app stores, here are the reporting lines:
- Report to Apple App Store
- Report to Google Play Store
- Report to Microsoft Windows
#6 Seek Legal advice –
If the above seems not to bear any fruits you can consult your lawyer to prepare a case against the infringer. Evaluate whether the legal action is worth it. The lawyer will use your proof and advice you on the documents you need for such a case. The lawyer can also defend your trademarked idea and ask for compensation from the infringer. However, this may be even more expensive than the cost to make an app, but it can be fruitful if you had registered the app idea. You may win or lose this battle as cases of stolen ideas can be hard to prove. If you feel that none of the actions works in your case you may also:
- Use social media and other available platforms to sensitize your audience and to call the thief publicly.
- Post a copyright notice with your original app.
- Use strong app security.
The pain of having someone ride on your idea can be too much and it is always advisable to take precaution to prevent idea theft. This may involve trade-marking your idea and use of NDA if you are working with a third party.