How to Avoid Legal Risks When Developing a Business App
By Lisa Michaels, Last updated: 2021-07-09 (originally published on 2020-10-22)
If you are considering developing a business app, you are not alone. Many companies are beginning to realize the importance of having their own business app — whether it is your entire business model or merely a complement to what you are already doing.
Still, there are certain challenges when it comes to the legal aspect of developing a business app. That’s why you need to understand what these are from the start so you can manage the obstacles and prevent your business from facing fines or lawsuits.
In this article, we will cover several legal aspects you must be aware of to plan your business app more effectively.
Let’s get started!
No modern business app would be complete without top-tier design assets such as high-quality graphics. However, you have to manage this part of your app creation carefully. If your designers are using copyrighted images or patterns, you are in danger of running into legal trouble.
You can freely use images available in the public domain (royalty-free), whilst creative common licensing often only requires attribution. This article from ProjectJourneyman goes into more detail about the different kinds of image licensing .
Alternatively, task your app design team with coming up with innovative ideas that represent your brand without impeding on any copyrighted material. This will prevent copyright claims, court fees, and other legal issues from arising.
Even if you have to start from scratch, it’s less expensive than a court battle, or settlement, for that matter.
Your code is another source of Intellectual Property (IP) that is essential to keep a close eye on. You need to make sure that your code is not stealing from other existing apps. A good way to borrow code without creating needless legal issues is to use open source platforms.
Encourage your developers to create unique code or borrow it from resources like GitHub. This is an open-source repository that allows the reuse of existing code.
If you disregard this, your business app could be taken down and stop being available for download to your customers.
Customers are more sensitive to their data than ever before. There have been several high profile breaches with customer information lately. Even large organizations with government-level security are not completely safe.
In addition, each country and region has its own data privacy laws. For instance, the European Union is much stricter with the data businesses are allowed to collect on customers compared to the United States.
Terms and Conditions
Your app should have a terms and conditions page. This is crucial for the legal aspect of your business app. A terms and conditions page tells your customers what they can expect, what their rights are (or which ones they are waiving by using your app), and more.
You don’t have to make your terms and conditions page prominent. However, it should be accessible by navigating in a typical fashion, with a hyperlink or dedicated page to display it.
Zegal has Privacy Policies available in its document template library. Create a free trial account to start drafting Privacy Policies today.
Be careful of the types of claims that you make in your marketing on your business app. For instance, if you sell a certain product that claims to help someone increase their income, lose weight, or anything else, these claims need to be backed by proof.
In addition, sometimes you have to put a disclaimer even when you have testimonials. The disclaimer usually says something to the effect of “results are not typical.” The required language will change from industry to industry.
The important thing is to research what exactly you need to disclaim so you protect yourself from the start.
One of the more significant challenges of developing an app is having your code or proprietary ideas fall into the wrong hands. To prevent this, you should always have an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) in place.
An NDA is, in essence, a confidentiality agreement. It means that the parties agree not to share specific information, such as unique technology or the algorithms used to create an app. This helps protect your business interests in a legally binding way.
A good agency, mobile app developer, or freelance programmer should guarantee the confidentiality of the project they are working on for you.
Make sure to properly research the agency or developer before making the final decision. Check out their previous projects and clients and reviews. That way, you can rest assured that your information is safe with them.
Zegal has a Confidentiality Agreement (NDA) available in its document template library. Create a free trial account to start drafting Confidentiality Agreement (NDA) today.
Developing a business app is an excellent way to get an edge over the competition in your market. However, it also comes with its fair share of challenges. To ensure that you are not taking any unnecessary legal risks, review the points above.
By having a smart plan and anticipating obstacles in advance, you can avoid putting your company in a position that takes months or years to overcome. That way, you can continue to grow your app and trust that it will meet your business and financial needs.
Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor, and a thriving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in business and tech. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.
This article does not constitute legal advice.
The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.