Since mobile apps have already penetrated every nook and corner of our lives and the app market has a size of more than USD$120 billion now, smaller apps overwhelmed by the success of their big brothers often follow their footsteps in concept, design, features, and content. Sometimes, this results in out and out plagiarism.
The ultimate condition to make your digital brand shine is to ensure uniqueness in terms of design, user experience, content, and features. So, taking inspiration from other leading apps is fine but opting for their apps can have disastrous consequences.
This is why it is essential to keep your mobile app away from copyright infringements. In some non-English speaking countries, such instances of plagiarism are more frequent. The companies working for app development in Denmark should focus on localizing the look and feel of the apps to stay clear of plagiarism. Instead of making a copy of a popular app in the US, they need to keep things in size for the local market.
Here are some useful tips to help your mobile app stay away from plagiarism.
Sign a Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA)
First of all, you need to protect your app idea and unique development attributes from being copied or plagiarized by others. If another app comes with a copy of your app or offers a similar look and feel, your unique brand value is directly hit.
This is why, when employing freelance developers or other professionals in an app project, make sure they sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to keep the entire app development attributes and design elements confidential and secret.
NDA comes basically as a legal contract to protect the development of project information and other details from exposure to third-party. By signing this agreement with the developers, designers and other hired professionals, you can ensure complete peace of mind corresponding to the confidentiality of the app project.
Make Sure You Own the Copyright of the Entire Project
If you build an app in-house without hiring a development company, you may think that the entire app is protected from plagiarism. But often even the in-house app projects require hiring professionals on board for specific development and design needs.
Once these hired professionals get over their job roles, it is important to make them sign over the copyright for the app components or design elements they created for the project.
Make Sure the Design Inspiration doesn’t Lead to Plagiarism
Sometimes, the overwhelming liking for the design and user experience of a successful app can lead to an unconscious copycat impact on your mobile app, and that is no less harmful than plagiarism.
If your app design looks similar to another leading app, it is alarming, and the design should instantly get a makeover to look unique. Even within a similar niche and target market, every business entity has its own unique identifier corresponding to design attributes and features.
So, make sure your app actually can address the shortcomings of competitor apps and offer something better instead of copying their look, feel, and user experience.
Follow Up With Developers Plagiarising Your App
When a developer is copying your app, you have several options to address it. Since it is directly hurting your brand value, you can always take necessary action against such infringement and the perpetrators of such actions. By taking legal steps, you can send the right signal to your audience as well as the industry.
In many cases, though developers secure the original idea of the app with copyright, another developer or development company can use the same idea and develop a similar app or a similar-looking app with just a handful of minor changes and new features. In such cases, you need to establish the authenticity of your claim about plagiarism through legal battles.
There have been many instances of such app cloning that even made the original publishers take down their apps. Just a few years ago, the original publisher of the Flappy Bird app took down their app as many plagiarised clones of the app appeared in the market and started monetizing the initial app idea.
With hundreds of clones appeared within a short time. As every subsequent clone came with additional features while keeping the original app idea intact, to this date it serves as a great example of plagiarism of mobile apps. This also explains that you cannot prevent app plagiarism in all cases, though you can take the best precautions to avoid them.
Using Native Platform Features
Google Play Store boasts of more than 2.6 million apps, and it has a very slack and loose copyright infringements checking mechanism that is almost avoided by anybody. Any app infringing copyrights is only taken down by Google as and when someone complains about a fraud. This is where copyright and trademark rights secured by your app can play a decisive role.
In complete contrast, Apple iOS App Store has an astringent and ever vigilant app evaluation policy focused on the unique value propositions of the submitted apps. This strict submission policy efficiently filters out plagiarised apps. The App Store also sorts our claims over copyright and trademark rights.
Finally, while many of us get inspired by the awesome success and works of others, and the influence directly seeps into our works unknowingly, in the extremely branding conscious app world, such influences should be considered with caution. When you refuse to be influenced by others, you often end up getting your unique footprints, and that makes the first stepping stone to the success of your app.