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Top 7 legal tips in building an app

This article explains the top 7 legal issues in building an app.

  1. Privacy law: If your app has a signup page or collects data, you need to follow privacy laws on how this information is handled. Depending on your business size, industry, the type of information you are collecting and how it is stored- your privacy compliance rules will be different. Felicia Coco, Founder of LaunchLink Communications adds "Data and information is a big part of any startup providing tech to end-users. Ensure you have multiple, trustworthy processes and practices that define how data is collected, used, managed and stored. Keep in mind that if you are servicing customers in international markets, you may be responsible for complying with international laws like the European GDPR laws. In the event of a breach, ensure you have an crisis plan ready to enact, and you are aware of your responsibilities, such as informing authorities."

  2. Consumer rights: By law, you must display in the App, the user's consumer law rights under the Australian Consumer Law.

  3. Outsourcing: If you ask a developer to create an app, they will automatically own the design of your app. Ensure your contract with the developer includes: - Confidentiality- To protect your trade secrets, ensure the development team signs a confidentiality agreement. - Hand-over including an assignment of intellectual property in the app and all logins so you can make changes as your business grows. Felicia Coco adds"Building technology is often a collaborative process that involves the input and creative work of many parties. This means IP for your tech is generally shared. In the event that there is disagreement around who owns which ideas, it's important to have a legal document that outlines the ownership of the technology. This should be updated as the company grows and the technology evolves. This will also help to protect you against any copy-cat companies."

  4. PCI DSS Compliance: If your app collects credit card information, it needs to manage compliantly.

  5. Jurisdiction: Your app could be accessible around the world. Choose which country's laws are to apply in the event of a dispute.

  6. Patents: If you want to patent your idea, you will need to keep it a secret until you file a patent. Ensure any team member working on the app and any user test group signs a confidentiality agreement.

  7. Limit your risks: Get a properly worded Sign Up page (Terms of Service) which includes limitation of liability, indemnities and sets out each party's rights and responsibilities.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me on (03) 8691 3128.

Kind regards,

Caroline Mense

Principal Lawyer, Legal Enablers Pty Ltd

Ph: (03) 8691 3128

Disclaimer: This article is general in nature and here to educate and inform. It is not legal advice, tailored to your circumstances.

Pictured: Felicia Coco, Founder of LaunchLink Communications and Caroline Mense, Founder of Legal Enablers.

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