Months of tireless coding, design, development and countless testing sessions go into developing an app. Have you stopped to consider whether your startup app is protected from intellectual theft and copyright infringement?
You may even wonder do you have to get lawyers for your startup app – and we have the answer right here for you.
With around 1,500 new apps published every day, and tens of thousands more in development looking for an edge over their competitors, time is a luxury no startup has. There’s pressure on the startup’s app to not only be beautiful in its design, but for it to perform faultlessly from the first day of its launch. There’s no time to hesitate before publishing on the app stores.
However, with a lot at stake for your company (and for other app developers), how do you prevent others from stealing your hard work?
To prevent your startup falling prey to unscrupulous developers and other tech startup apps, it is essential to hire a lawyer before publishing your startup’s app.
A lawyer doesn’t need to cost you thousands of dollars and take months of paperwork to copyright your hard work. In fact, startups can keep a lawyer on retainer to make use of their services only when and as needed by the company.
We have the insight you need to find out what type of lawyer you need, how to find the right lawyer for your startup app, and what a lawyer can do for your startup and your app.
What Type of Lawyer Should I Get?
You’ll need a business lawyer who has experience with startups and tech startups, specifically. There many hundreds of such law firms specializing in internet development and intellectual property rights.
A lawyer that’s not familiar with the intricacies of startup app and internet development simply won’t be able to offer you a cost-effective, proactive service that keeps pace with the dynamics of your startup.
The amount of due diligence you pay in searching for the right lawyer for your startup will reward you with less headaches further down the line. As with hiring employees, a series of interviews are essential to ensure the lawyer is experienced with your field and your needs as well as fits in with your company’s culture.
Consider asking your potential lawyer about their experiences with similar startups, the amount of time they actually have for your needs, the number of people in their law firm that could possibly help you in situations when they’re not available, their experience with fundraising and investor schemes, their experiences in intellectual property rights and if they have any references you could contact about their previous work.
One of the most important assets in your lawyer’s tool bag is that they have a deep network of contacts in your industry and with startups. These are contacts and connections you could later use to help grow your startup through multiple rounds of fundraising and other investors.
What Can a Lawyer Do for Your Startup App?
A lawyer experienced in intellectual property and startups will be able to guide your startup through the ever-changing laws. Your lawyer will help you to file creative elements of your startup app for copyright protection to prevent others from stealing your hard work – to ensure that you own the work you create.
At the same time, your lawyer will also be able to let you know if your startup app and its creative elements might be infringing on someone else’s copyright marks so that you can avoid a lawsuit.
In fact, there are four distinct types of intellectual property rights that your lawyer will take care of on your behalf: patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Not only you’re your lawyer file documents for intellectual property rights, they will also be researching possible infringements of your copyrights by others.
As specialists, they are constantly researching the laws and regulations for their clients for legal compliancy – and reduce risk. This risk may come from users, customers, suppliers, employees and the general public at large.
Let’s also remember that copyright and other forms of intellectual property rights are actually business assets. As soon they are protected under law, they become valuable. The right lawyer for your business will understand this and will encourage you to undertake these processes.
Further down the line, when seeking fundraising and approaching investors, these assets will attract serious investors and will surely impress them – when a startup recognizes that their intellectual property are in fact assets and not simply expenses used protect creative elements from theft, an investor will see just how serious they are about their startup app.
How do I Find the Right Lawyer?
You have already established what type of lawyer you need and what they can do for your startup app, and now you may be wondering how you can find the right lawyer – and these are the tips that will make that process so much easier.
As straightforward as it may seem, you need a lawyer that specializes in your needs and field. It is of no use to you if your lawyer is a specialist tax lawyer when you’re looking to define copyright for your artwork. You’ll need a business lawyer with experience in startups, intellectual property and internet development law.
Startups don’t need to bring in a lawyer onto their full-time employee payroll as Chief Legal Officers – a startup doesn’t have the legal work to justify the costs of employing a lawyer full time. There are dozens and dozens of law firms specializing in providing legal services on a “gig” or job basis to startups and small companies.
From filing for LLC (Limited Liability Company) or Corporation, to overseeing contracts between suppliers and employees, registering your startup for state and federal tax, to assisting you with registering your app and its features for trademark and copyright protection, you can make use of these legal providers to help you when and as needed.
The best way to find a lawyer that fits your specific needs would be to research the legal teams of other startup apps you may know. Asking your local lawyer to point you in the direction of a specialist lawyer they’d recommend is also a way to narrow your search. We would recommend starting your search with the American Bar Association’s website and for commercial lawyers you can start your search on FindLaw.com.
You need to be comfortable with your choice in lawyer and confident that they are best-equipped to help your startup app. Take your time to find the lawyer that best fits your startup’s need and corporate culture.