We are about to release a new app in Beta version to a limited number of users. We rely on them to give us final verification and feedback on the app, and later to be ambassadors of the final release. Should we consider a formal, legal agreement with these users that specifies things like: -no redistribution -no transfer of ownership -anything else?

I commend you for the question as I’m sure there have been countless inventors who fail to consider this! You could follow Gal’s route and draft some sort of licensing agreement. However, as a bootstrapped startup, I agree with Nora in that more simplistic intellectual property protection would probably suffice.

There are cost-effective routes that can provide robust intellectual property protection for you. Confidentiality agreements and trade secret protection can work very well, especially when combined with exceptional innovation design and speed. This type of contract should establish ownership of the app, limit usage of the app to the “limited release” time period and to that particular individual, limit your startup’s liability, describe the ramifications for misuse of the product, and provide a forum for disputes. It is worth noting that all employees, board members, advisors, and outside testors should be required to sign agreements obligating them to assign all business-related intellectual property to the company. You will also want to extend IP protection through agreements with non-employees, including vendors, outsourced designers, engineers, and counsel, as well as testing facilities.

We at help clients select the route that makes the most sense - whether it’s a regular utility or provisional patent, licensing agreement or trade secret protection. It can be daunting, no doubt, but an experienced attorney can save you lots of money and time, while helping you to add value to your company. Innovation in the legal marketplace is no doubt occurring, but not fast enough to help the person or business that needs immediate legal assistance at a price they can afford. LawTrades was established to meet these needs by providing effective and economical solutions. Hope that clears things up a bit. Feel free to message me directly to chat further about any other IP questions that you face.

Answered 4 years ago

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