Olufola Wusu

Fola Wusu

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It’s a good thing if you think you have an app that you are certain that the world needs.
Technology based transactions are growing everyday in Nigeria. Success stories abound from “Hi Nolly” to numerous other popular apps Nigerians and numerous other nationals use.
Technology based transactions are growing everyday in Nigeria. Success stories abound from “Hi Nolly”, “Nigerian Constitution app”, “Naija pings”, “Mocality”, “Slim Trader”, “M.Farm”, “M.Pedigree” to numerous other popular apps Nigerians and numerous other nationals use.

Intellectual property (IP) is intangible property that is created in someone’s mind using his intellect or other tangible goods. Categories include apps, art, literary works, music, inventions, designs, processes and trademarks.

Intellectual property has value just like tangible property, and you have to protect it otherwise your property can be exploited without your knowledge or permission.

Some view intellectual property as a shield that prevents unlawful exploitation while others view intellectual property as a net that allows you to synergise with others through licensing of intellectual property.

Licenses and Your Rights
A license allows an intellectual property rights holder (the licensor) to make money from an invention or creative work by charging a user (the licensee) for product use. Licenses protect proprietary rights in things such as software and other computer products, for example. An intellectual property owner uses a license to give someone permission to do a certain activity or to use his property, without the license this would have been unlawful. Once you have a handle on your IP rights, you can create your software license agreement.

Great market
Well from all indications Nigeria is possibly the place to be for smartphone and tablet app developers, — a promising market with plenty of potential users, but also one that offers little Intellectual Property/Copyright Protection, so you need to cover your bases and right on time too.

Risk starts early…

The risk to an app starts from the early days of development and the process of developing an app is still relatively new in Nigeria.
The issues that pop up in connection with developing an app are sometimes similar to the issues associated with developing custom made software or other niche IT products. So once you dream of a great app call your I.P. Lawyer so you do not end up losing your app to the 3rd parties that helped you develop it.

3rd party risk
Most times apps are developed in conjunction with or by third parties, and without a contractual provision presently assigning the developer’s intellectual property rights in the app to the client, all things being equal the app will be owned or co-owned by the developer and the originator of the idea/client.

App piracy
Yes its true, like other forms of piracy, App piracy is growing in Nigeria by the minute, making app developers lose millions of naira in potential revenue from app purchases here and abroad, on-app advertising, in-app buys and license fees to mention a few loose ends.

Making money from your app
Making money from your app can be as simple as getting buyers to enter into a listing agreement with you, regardless of how you choose to commercialize your app please get legal advice.

Black market stores for apps
But a black market store can list apps illegally in several ways.
It can copy an app and list it as if it is delivering some ad revenue to the developer.

Yes o, hackers can modify the app’s software and graphics, and resell the app as a knockoff, cutting all ties and profits to the original developer, either way that is piracy in motion for you.

Data generated
Apps can generate a lot of data and this makes it important for the developer to consider use and ownership of the data.
Data may have some commercial value especially when it comes to in app advertising.

End-user agreement
This goes without saying, the developer might include its own end user agreement in conjunction with that of the app store where his app is being made available.

Indemnity clauses
This is just a pledge to pay compensation in case a third party sues you the client on account of a possible infringement of intellectual property by the developer of your app.

Privacy issues
Issues pertaining to privacy also abound and those bases need to be covered to avoid or limit liability in any potential lawsuit.

Protecting your apps
Software companies operating in Nigeria sometimes encounter difficulty in protecting their intellectual property rights, things become tougher when smartphones pop up all over the world and violators/pirates can access apps’ software codes from anywhere in the world at the click of a mouse.

You also need advice on how best to protect your app and what measures will best protect it.
Losing control of your app can be dangerous in many ways for you and your company. To take full control of your app, please get in touch with your I.P. Lawyer today.

Conclusion

Many issues come up when drafting a license agreement for your apps. Laws relating to intellectual property can be extremely complicated. An IP lawyer can provide invaluable help with drafting your agreement and enforcing it

Your lawyer should carefully review the form and substance of any app license agreement that you intend to sign.

This risk of a license agreement for an app may be minimal when the contract is executed but may increase as the transaction unfolds and the parties look to the contract to define their rights and duties as the conflict unfolds either in Nigeria or anywhere in the world the app is being used.

Olufola Wusu is a Commercial, Oil and Gas and I.P. Lawyer based in Lagos

Olufola Wusu Esq. © 2012

Olufola Wusu is noted for his “dynamic practice” and “commercial acumen”. He is praised for his
“first-rate skills” in assisting clients…