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What is a mobile app development agreement?

It’s pretty simple really. A development agreement is an agreement between a client who wants a product created and the developer who is creating the product. In this case, the agreement concerns the development of a mobile app, which is software that users can download onto their smartphone or tablet.

Why do I need a mobile app development agreement?

Written mobile app development agreements are useful for a number of reasons. They outline the obligations and rights of each party. They make it clear who owns the intellectual property associated with the app. And they provide legal protection if something goes wrong.

If you are hiring an app developer, it is a good idea to have your own mobile app development agreement rather than using theirs. This is because the development agreement used by a mobile app developer will probably give them more rights and give you less protection than you need.

What should be in my mobile app development agreement?
  • The specifications of the app.
  • A timeline for app development.
  • The information that the client needs to provide to the developer and when they need to provide it.
  • The ongoing communication and reporting requirements while the app is being developed.
  • The budget for the app and the payment schedule.
  • Quality and functionality guarantees provided by the developer.
  • How the app will be tested to ensure it meets the clients’ requirements.
  • What intellectual property will be created by the app. Typically this will be copyright however the developer or client may apply for a patent if the app satisfies patent requirements.
  • Who owns the intellectual property, this may not be straightforward. For example, the developer may use their existing intellectual property in the app, new intellectual property may be created in the process of making the app and open source or third party intellectual property may also be used to create the app. So in this example, who owns the IP and what IP do they actually own? Not so straightforward anymore is it?
  • Whether the developer has the obligation to create all updates and modifications for the app.
  • Confidentiality provisions to protect the app and related information while it is being developed.
  • How disputes will be resolved.
  • The circumstances under which the agreement can be terminated.

These are some of the items that should be specified in a Mobile App Development Agreement. Don’t leave the creation of your revolutionary app to chance. As we like to say ‘do it once and do it right’.

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