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Intellectual Property
Intellectual Property Protection in App Development

With the world economy becoming more globalized and highly connected by the Internet, plenty of apps developed in recent years have achieved tremendous success. It won’t be wrong to say that app development is in its ‘golden era’ right now. However, while developing a new app, a person needs to acquire Intellectual Property (IP) Protection to safeguard the app from the issues of piracy, theft, or infringement. Usually, the owner seeks protection from various forms of Intellectual Property like copyrights, trademarks, and patents, depending on the app and its applications.

NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT (NDA)

Developing or creating an app is not a task implemented by a single person as it involves a lot of brainpower and mental aptitude. In most cases, you would probably need to hire a freelance app developer having the appropriate technical skills to build something extraordinary and productive. But how will you ensure that they keep the project and its details confidential or don’t steal the idea after helping you out? The answer is by signing a non-disclosure agreement before the developer starts working on the app. A non-disclosure agreement or NDA is a legal contract signed between two people stating the information that will be shared between them along with the confidential information that they will not share with other people. Such an agreement offers aid to the owners by enforcing others to remain silent about the app developed. By including this agreement, the owners can retain their ownership of the app developed.

PATENT PROTECTION

If the developed app has something novel, innovative, and useful to offer along with the commercial potential for sales, the owner can file a Patent Application for seeking Patent Protection on some aspects of the app. While the software is not always something that can seek protection, there are other parts involved in the process of app development, which possibly can. It often depends on how the person has created the app as well as on the encapsulation of different methods to build something new. The legal IP authorities may also grant patent protection to the hardware necessary, such as to play the app, which will protect the invention and promote its commercial sales.

TRADEMARK REGISTRATION

The brand name and its image become the prime link between the owners and their customers. Therefore, while developing an app, the owners must protect their identity with Trademark Registration. A trademark registered for the name or logo of the app will create a brand for the owner by giving him the exclusive rights to prevent other traders from using the same or similar app name or logo. However, the developer must ensure that the name or logo selected for the app doesn’t infringe the IP Rights of any other app developer. The developers should follow proper clearance procedures before applying for trademark registration.

COPYRIGHTS

Depending on what the owners are seeking to protect, they can also acquire Copyright Protection for the specific or printed words used in the app, including stories, dialogues, to name a few. Other related works used in the application like the artistic works can also receive copyright protection as long as the software is not a part of it. Copyrights also protect the source code that goes behind the software used in creating the app. Source codes are a set of human-readable computer instructions executed to run the app on the desired platform. They meet the standard for copyright protection as they are an original work of ownership designed by the developer in a tangible medium.

BOTTOM LINE

Developers and business owners who either create apps on their own or hire independent creators must keep in mind that the apps developed are valuable assets of Intellectual Property. Like any other assets of a business, apps must also be maintained and protected. Smart business plans and strategies, along with sound advice on how to protect these assets, enhance the reputation of any business in the marketplace, and potentially monetize the creative ideas.

 

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Intellectual Property Myths

In today’s Intellectual Property (IP) intensive environment, people mostly don’t set out to steal or copy any other person’s property, invention, or creative ideas. Rather, they get inspired by the creativity around them, which in turn leads them down to a daunting path of inappropriate business deals. If people don’t understand the laws and rights of intellectual property, their businesses can face a massive loss, ultimately leading to even bankruptcy. So, here are a few common intellectual property myths, which can prevent your business from having a negative impact.

Myth 1 – Registration of IP is the end of the matter

Nowadays, many companies and organizations strongly believe that once a trademark is registered or a patent is granted, they can be used without worrying about infringing someone else’s intellectual property.  However, a post-registration challenge can also be made to check the validity of a trademark or patent, which happens mostly in the cases of infringement. Moreover, other people can also infringe on your products, or services, therefore, it will not be wrong to say that granted Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) do not prevent infringement.

Myth 2 – A Patent protects an invention worldwide

There is nothing like “Worldwide Patent Protection.” For instance, a patent granted in the US only protects that product in the States. If the owners want to ensure protection abroad, they must file a Patent Application in each country (as per their local Patent Laws) where they want to use the patent. However, there are a few international filing systems, namely, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the European Patent Convention, which can offer aid in obtaining patent protection in multiple jurisdictions at once.

Myth 3 – Trademarks protect only words or logos

A trademark can be any sign which is capable of being graphically represented by distinguishing goods or services from those of other undertakings. In addition to words and logos, colors (single color or color combinations), sounds, holograms, positions, or motion marks are also applicable for Trademark Registration.

Myth 4 – A person is free to use anything available on the internet

Many people around the globe believe that anything published on the internet is free to use as it is in the public domain. However, the content on most websites, which includes the text and images, is likely to be subject to Copyright Protection. If something is publicly accessible on the Internet does not necessarily mean it is in the public domain. Therefore, all business owners and other individuals should assume that anything available on the Internet is copyrighted, even if it doesn’t have the copyright symbol.

Myth 5 – IP is only for technology companies and large corporations

IP is size neutral as it benefits the companies of all sizes. Often, technology companies and large corporations like Apple and Google get highlighted in the news by mentioning their intellectual property. However, in today’s cut-throat competitive world, smaller companies are often more creative and innovative because of their better and smarter ways of doing things. Therefore, the intellectual property extends protection to all types of businesses in the market and is the best asset any company or firm could ever own.

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Role of Intellectual Property in Sports

Innovation and creativity play a significant role in the world of sports. Each sporting field involves inventors and creators who work behind the scenes to push the boundaries and create new opportunities for the athletes to perform better. In sports, Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio management services are always in action. For instance, Patents encourage technological advances that improve the sporting equipment. Trademarks, brand entities, and industrial designs contribute to the unique identity of teams and events. Copyrights generate the revenues required for supporters and broadcasters to invest in the expensive costs of broadcasting sports events across the world. Additionally, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) form the basis of licensing and merchandising agreements that further help in earning revenue to support developments in the sports industry.

 INVENTIONS AND PATENTS

Technological advancements have always played an essential role in the sports landscape; however, the advent of digital technologies has fuelled technology, more than ever before. Patent protected innovative technologies are now taking the sports industry to another level. These advances are changing the sports experience from the training field, to the sports stadium, all the way to our living room. Sports equipment installed with sensors and communication technologies is presently boundless. These smart innovations allow athletes and trainers at all levels to evaluate their performance and identify areas which require further improvement. Sports shoes and protective gear like helmets are made up of durable and light-weight innovative composite materials, which reduce the risk of injury for athletes and make sports safer. Furthermore, millions are invested in the sports stadium to make sure that fans access both physical and digital experiences. High-end Wi-Fi networks ensure a hassle-free fan experience and advanced broadcasting facilities; enable fans in distant places to get close to sporting action. Sports associates often collaborate with tech companies to ensure that sports content is shareable via social media, accessible on multiple devices, and interactive.

 INDUSTRIAL DESIGNS

In the field of technological developments and improvements, using new materials, patterns, designs, and ornaments are not far behind. The impact of Industrial Designs in the sports industry is far-reaching as they contribute to the unique identity of sports teams and their equipment. Designs play a critical role in adding commercial value to a sports product or event by making it more attractive and marketable. Industrial Design Protection safeguards the investments of new designs made in the sports industry.

BRANDING AND TRADEMARKS

Staging a sports event is an expensive affair. Efficient and strategic use of Trademarks enables the sports associations and businesses involved to build a strong reputation and generate ample revenue to cover up the costs of organizing such events. Trademark Rights support sports sponsorship deals, which can be extremely profitable. By perceiving global appeal and power of trademark as an advertising platform, companies in numerous sectors are turning to sports to build awareness of their items among purchasers, drive sales, and emerge in a swarmed and highly-competitive market. Nowadays, many sports associations also use their trademark and IP Rights to leverage the value of their brand’s entity by licensing them to third parties.

BROADCASTING AND COPYRIGHTS

Sports associations are highly dependent on broadcasters and supporters to transmit coverage of their events, connect with their fans all around the world, and attract sponsors. Copyrights support the connection between sports, television, and other media. While sports games do not usually qualify for Copyright Protection in general, media companies pay millions for obtaining the exclusive rights of broadcasting sports events live. Therefore, the largest source of revenue for most sports organizations now comes from the sale of broadcasting and media rights. The funds generated off-set the financing costs involved in organizing major sports events, and also contribute to the development costs.

 

CONCLUSION

In the sports industry, the strategic use of Intellectual Property Rights has significant potential, which can lead to economic development in many ways. From generating income from the sale of sports equipment to boosting international trade, IP rights can productively enhance a country’s reputation. Staging sports events at both national and international levels can enrich the social and cultural fabric of all countries. However, it is a matter of fact that yes; the business of sports requires a strong legal framework to support IP rights for managing the operational and logistical issues associated with organizing such sports events.  Therefore, all countries should integrate Intellectual Property and sports-related objectives into their nation’s development strategies to drive social and economic progress.