Exactly What Are You Buying From Your Software Developer?

By | Software Agreements, Software Lawyer | No Comments

software development ownershipWhen you’re paying to have a software application developed, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting.

For example, a developer might deliver a functional mobile app that meets your specs. Yet you discover you don’t legally own the app.

How is that possible?

As skilled technicians, developers frequently don’t focus on things like intellectual property (IP) ownership. They just want to get the work done.

So, what happens is an app development project ends, the client thinks it owns the code, yet the developer plans to recycle the code to use for other clients’ projects. Sometimes it’s a nasty lawsuit over who owns what, particularly when multiple parties have paid a developer for work that each thinks they own.

And it gets even more confusing if the developer has used third-party code (e.g., open source code) on the project.

What happens in these situations is both client and developer think they own something that neither do. And you may not even have the right to sell the app you think you own!

How do you prevent this type of mess?

The first step is to have a comprehensive software development agreement that’s designed to protect and clearly spells out what rights you have. If you need help with an app dev agreement or software licensing, you may want to schedule a phone consultation with Software Lawyer Mike Young.

Are You Using The Right Software Contract To Distribute Your App?

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software licensing agreementWhether you’ve paid for an app to be developed or you’re a software developer who created one, it’s important to protect what you own by using the right software contracts when selling your application…or when giving it away if it’s a free app.

Why Borrowing A Software Agreement Is A Bad Idea

Unfortunately, some software application owners make the mistake of “borrowing” the wrong type of software agreement that they find online. More often than not, the contract isn’t designed to protect their rights. And, in fact, they’re probably creating a legal nightmare of intellectual property rights that could end up as an expensive lawsuit at any time.

Software Ownership

Although there are other important issues, the most essential one is who owns what.

For example, you probably don’t want to use a software agreement that gives all rights to the end user. That means you’d own nothing after selling/giving away the first copy of the application!

And it wouldn’t work well to try to have a reseller receive only an end user license.

Open Source Code And Your Rights

Yes, software intellectual property rights are a complex issue. And they get more complicated if the application uses a combination of custom and open source code. Because you can’t sell or give away more rights than you have in the first place.

Do you know exactly what rights you’ve got to your software application? Or what rights you’re granting others when distributing the software to them?

Perhaps it’s time to get the right software agreement(s) in place to protect what you own. And clean up any messes that have already been made before you end up in court over it.

How To Get Help

Do you need a new software agreement? Or help with an existing one? Set up a phone consultation with Software Lawyer Mike Young.

Software Development, Subcontractors, and Application Ownership

By | Software Agreements, Software Lawyer | No Comments

software development agreementWhen you’re developing software for a client and use subcontractors, who owns the application?

Now the answer to that question isn’t a simple one unless you’ve got the right agreements in place with both your client and the subcontractors.

Because it’s common for the client, the software developer, and the subcontractors to all believe that they own the code. And the right to recycle that code on other projects, sell it to others, etc.

Yet if your agreements don’t clearly state who owns what, it can quickly become a mess that leads to infringement lawsuits that can bankrupt you even if you are the actual owner.

Ideally, each agreement will clearly state who is the copyright owner and if the other party is a licensee, the scope of the license that determines what can and cannot be done with the code (e.g., cannot be sold to a competitor).

What if you developed an application for a client using subcontractors but didn’t address intellectual property ownership before work began?

First, deal with the subcontractors. Most will assign over their rights to the work if you’ve paid them. A few will ask for a limited license to reuse parts of the code.

Second, talk with the client and reach an agreement in writing on code ownership and any licensing to the non-owner.

Regardless of where you’re at in the software development process, an experienced software lawyer can help you with the right legal paperwork that protects you on this project. And he can create agreements you can use in the future with clients and subcontractors that prevent IP ownership from becoming an issue down the road.