In line with copyright regulation, the developer owns the code from the moment it is “fixed in tangible shape.” In other words, the developer owns the copyright as soon as he presses “Save,” even in case he hasn’t launched anything before. This additionally counts, for the layout and creative content that goes at the app. When collaborating with a development company, the client receives the rights on all components of the product.
In a great variety of cases, iOS developers additionally use workings of others to construct your app. You should make certain they have all the right to use them. Otherwise, you might be exposed to third parties’ claims to revenues. That is what the Technology Assignment Agreement is aimed at. It is a basic contract in which a person will assign to developers (or to the development company, if they are incorporated) the intellectual property of the workings.
As with every contract, it requires consideration to be legitimate. Consideration is, in reality, the value exchanged to have the IP rights. It is usually money (any price will do, but symbolic amounts like $1 may be contested), but can also be equity in the organisation. It could also be a promise, consisting of a certain percent of future sales or revenues. The critical matters are the representations and warranties of the person that assigns the copyright. For example, this phase will state that:
- Developer is the only owner of all IP rights and title.
- App creator will not assign such rights to anybody else.
- Programmer is not aware of any infringement, violation, or misappropriation of any third party’s rights by the IP.
- Developer was not acting within the employment by any third party when creating IP ( if it is a case, the IP belongs to the employer).
Notice that there is often a non-disclosure provision included inside this kind of agreement. It is pretty preferred and should not be a negotiated point.
If you use contractors to build any component of the app, you need a document that goes by different names: Work for Hire Agreement, Independent Contractor Agreement, or even Contract for Mobile Application Development Services. They are essentially the same, as long as they contain a “work for hire” clause like:
“Work for Hire. The Developer expressly acknowledges and agrees that any all proprietary materials prepared by the Developer under this Agreement shall be considered “works for hire” and the exclusive property of the Company unless otherwise specified. These items shall include, but shall not be limited to, any and all deliverables resulting from the Developer’s Services or contemplated by this Agreement, all tangible results and proceeds of the Services, works in progress, records, diagrams, notes, drawings, specifications, schematics, documents, designs, improvements, inventions, discoveries, developments, trademarks, trade secrets, customer lists, databases, software, programs, middleware, applications, and solutions conceived, made, or discovered by the Developer, solely or in collaboration with others, during the Term of this Agreement relating in any manner to the Developer’s Services.”
The advantage of a work-for-hire agreement is that it takes care of the IP assignment. Signed in a timely fashion, i.e. before any work is performed, this contract ensures that all the code and design the contractor will build for you is automatically assigned to you.
Though, developers always try to retain the so-called “portfolio rights”, so that they can show their work to future clients.
Often referred to as “service agreement” or other variants of it, this contract is substantially distinctive from the above mentioned in the IP provisions; the copyright is not assigned by default; however, it is licensed by the patron or commissioner for a fee (constant or periodical). Licensing lets freelance iOS builders personalise their offerings, for instance:
- They could restrict the scope of the license to a particular mission or product, geographic location or term;
- They can make a client pay a premium for specific use of the code;
- They can define a unique IP remedy for the so-called “tools” (i.e. the snippets of code or fonts which developer include more than one tasks. Simply due to the fact they are in a few task does not suggest that client owns the tool. The developer simply gives the customer permission to continue using it.)
Most of the time iOS developers search for a compromise between licensing and work-for- hire. A comprehensive service contract is usually the best of both worlds.
NDAA non-disclosure agreement is the last, but not the least. Such contract is pretty standard in digital business, and every respected iOS developer should sign it. In our company, we start cooperation from discussing the details and signing the NDA. We guarantee the confidentiality of all the data provided. Even if we just make an estimation of the project, you can be sure that all your ideas and materials are under the reliable protection. We are ready to talk in details about every level of conspiracy. It is up to you to decide: Whether we could name the company-developer in the project; Whether our agency could mention your project in our portfolio; Whether you authorise the portfolio rights; What data must not be disclosed, etc. Such approach is a warrant of the irreproachable confidentiality and relations based on loyalty.