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What are the IP issues related to apps?

My company wants to develop an application for a mobile device. What do we need to know about the IP issues involved?

The lawyer

Developing an app for a mobile device is not unlike other types of software development. Thought should be given to protecting patents, copyrights, trade marks and trade secrets that might be embodied in the app, with some special considerations for user-developed content and third-party software agreements.

Own the copyright in your own app Perhaps the most common pitfall is when companies hire outside contractors to develop an app – or any other software – based on specifications and/or functionality provided to the contractor by one or more employees of the company. There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach, as long as your vendor contracts include both a so-called work for hire clause and an assignment clause. That is, to the extent the software can be considered a work made for hire under US copyright law (which is not always the case), the contract says so, and to the...

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