Key Legal Documents for Mobile App Development — A Guide

If you’re creating a mobile product, it’s imperative to ensure that it is good to go on the Legal front. Every stage of mobile app development should be looked at through a Legal lens to make sure everything is up to the mark. Mobile app development companies should be aware of the key Legal Issues that come into play during and after the development process. In this blog, we’ve listed down some of the key legal aspects that custom web and app developers and businesses should implement in their development process for an extra added layer of essential safety.

1. A Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA):

Mobile app development companies and their clients often sign an NDA as an important touchpoint before the development process starts. There is a legal pledge involved that ensures the confidentiality of certain information that the client and the company exchange. This contract is an important tool for making sure that any and every piece of information exchanged does not leak to any third parties without legal repercussions. It is also a way for businesses to protect their app idea from leaking and being used by someone else. NDAs usually involve two or more parties. A well-structured confidentiality agreement can be effective for protecting your rights if the other parties breach any parts of the agreement.

What should you pay attention to while signing an NDA?

A. The definition of confidential information: All the parties involved in the NDA must specify a certain definition of what the confidential information is going to be. Ideally, it should include all the information about your company, including financial data, operating, marketing, know-how, show-how and trade data. It should also include information regarding the product, like ideas, solutions, operating methods, functionalities and elements of the app architecture.

B. Obligations of the other party: Relevant information in a confidentiality agreement always should include the obligations of the other party, such as maintaining the confidentiality of the information that they receive and the obligation that the information is only revealed to the staff when and if necessary and that it will obligate the staff to maintain the confidentiality of the information.

C. Choice of Laws: When you’re signing an NDA, ensure that the jurisdiction and laws chosen by the development company are favorable to you.

D. Contractual Penalties: Penalties are essential to an NDA since without penalties an NDA loses its value. Contractual Penalties need to be included in an NDA, as a certain sum of money for certain violations, or compensation for the loss of revenue or any damage that occurs to your professional image.

E. Term: The duration of an NDA depends on the value of the information that needs to be kept confidential. The standard terms are 2 years, 3 years and 5 years.

F. Obligation to return information: Should there be an event of not wanting to continue working with a party after certain business negotiations, there needs to be an obligation to return or destroy the relevant confidential information provided to the other party.

2. Independent Contractor Agreement:

An independent contractor agreement is an important legal document for businesses and mobile app development companies. It can help both parties cooperate in the duration of their collaboration. The independent Contractor agreement should state exactly how the collaboration will work.

What should be included in an Independent Contractor Agreement?

A. The method of cooperation: During negotiations, it’s important to talk about how the two parties will collaborate to ensure that there are no failings in mutual expectations. In the co-operation model, the forms of communication and procedures and rules of arranging meetings and exchanging information should be explicitly discussed.

B. Force majeure: A force majeure is a binding clause of any contract that ensures that if a party is hit by any adverse effects outside their control, the party can mitigate those circumstances under the agreement.

C. Exit Plan: Drawing out an exit plan is extremely important in case the collaboration ends before the planned term. The exit plan should include the handover of the existing codes, payment due dates and contractual penalties for wrongful termination of the contract.

3. Privacy Policy & Data Protection: Privacy policy and data protection are legal requirements for users and proprietors of the app to be aware of. One fundamental legal obligation of any application is to make sure that the processing of user data is secure. More specifically, the requirements depend on the countries that the app is released in. For example, in the USA, apps need to adhere to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act to make it available to minors under the age of 13.

The nature of the application also determines the requirements. Some sectors in applications require higher security measures such as Healthcare, finance and banking. There are many legal acts when it comes to personal data processing in mobile applications. The best practice is to involve a lawyer and have them present during the app development process. From a technical standpoint, the data also needs to be protected from data leaks. The developers should ensure that a secure system is in place so that the data is appropriately protected.

4. Terms & Conditions: The countries that an app is available in determining what the Terms and Conditions of the app should ideally include. Many legal acts in European countries impose requirements on what the Terms and Conditions of a mobile application should include in their content. This includes certain legal texts that are obligatory and the recently adopted regulation on online intermediation services.

In any terms & conditions document, make sure that you specify -

A. Company Information: Basic information about the company is a must-have in terms and conditions.

B. Conditions of Service Provision: This should include a description of the app’s service, any conditions regarding registrations, deleting the account and when the contract between the parent company and the user ends. Rules of safe use of the application, technical requirements and rules of the app regarding suspension or blocking of other users also need to be included.

C. End User License Agreement: The app is a computer program available to the user under a licensing agreement for fair use.

D. Processing of Complaints & Contact with Controllers: It is important to include a clear procedure for sending and processing complaints, along with multiple methods to establish contact with the controllers of the applications.

E. Limitation of Liability: The scope of your liability to the user should be clearly defined in the terms and conditions of the application. The language of the document should be understandable to the regular user, and no clauses in fine print should be included.

Conclusion

Mobile app development in itself is a complicated and demanding process. But, the legal aspects of app development can be pretty confusing as well. We hope this guide helps you navigate the process of including all the relevant legal documents in the app development process and on your app itself.

If you have an idea, and you’re looking for a way to build your app, our experts at TechRev will be happy to help you bring your vision to reality.

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