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Handbook newly published for app developers to improve understanding of potential of IP in mobile applications

By TBM Team
2 June 2021

Orcro, in collaboration with its sister company Moorcrofts LLP, has authored a newly published World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Handbook – Key Contracts for Mobile Applications – a Developers Perspective.

The handbook is designed to help small and medium organisations, located anywhere in the world

Mobile apps have become an integral part of people’s lives – their popularity having increased exponentially with the uptake of smartphones. The market value of the mobile app economy has grown rapidly, driven by a huge community of software developers. As of the fourth quarter of 2020, Android users were able to choose between 3.14 million apps, making Google Play the app store with biggest number of available apps. The Apple App Store was the second largest app store with almost 2.09m available apps for iOS. These figures are continuously increasing.

The WIPO recognises intellectual property (IP) mechanisms help mobile application developers and publishers to generate more income from their creations. To improve the understanding of the potential of IP in mobile applications and to empower mobile application developers with tools for using IP in their work, it commissioned Orcro in 2020 to create the handbook.

The handbook is designed to help small and medium organisations, located anywhere in the world, engaged in the development of mobile apps negotiate a hassle-free path through the IP and other legal issues expected to be encountered. It pinpoints the issues to be considered when embarking on each stage of app development and throughout an app’s life cycle, from conception and development through to launch and implementation.

The handbook includes chapters on:

  1. Intellectual property rights throughout the life cycle of a mobile app
  2. Non-disclosure agreements
  3. Contracts, assignment agreements, IP and third-party developers
  4. Software/mobile app development agreements
  5. Third-party service provider agreements
  6. Distribution agreements with an app store
  7. Advertising agreements
  8. End-user license agreements/consumer laws
  9. Privacy and data protection.

The authors of the handbook include CEO of Orcro and joint managing partner and head of technology at Moorcrofts, Andrew Katz and Tech and IP Solicitor, Usha Guness.

Katz, said: “This new handbook is intended to complement other WIPO materials that pertain to mobile applications and IP. It provides a practical tool to help one particular segment of the mobile app market sector: app developer organisations, alerting them to the issues that need to be addressed at the various stages of the mobile app life cycle. It highlights potential problem areas that can be solved through effective contracts and other legal structures, as well as giving developer organisations a thorough grounding in the basics of IP contracts, before they resort to specialised professionals.”

To introduce the handbook as a toolkit, WIPO in cooperation with the Kenyan Copyright Board organised a webinar, on 22 April 2021 with Katz, Guness as well as local speakers, to introduce and discuss issues addressed in the handbook as well as specific local issues on this topic.

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