DEAR APP DEVELOPER, YOU NEED A LAWYER!HERE’S WHY

We live in a technological age. I’m sure that you’ve heard that phrase thrown around in a number of different contexts in your life. What it means is that we live in an age where humanity is on the verge of mastering the art of using technology to make life easier for the general population. At the advent of the industrial age, we learnt how to use fuel and engine motors to make travelling faster through motor vehicles and later through aeroplanes. We developed mobile technology and improved our means of communication. We traded horses for Airbuses and smoke signals for mobile phones but this was just the tip of the Iceberg.

In the 21st century, with the spread of the internet, technology moved closer home. Today, we can order food on our phones through Applications like Ubereats, rent cars and drivers for any given period of time or distance through Applications like UberTaxify and Little Cab. With the Covid 19 pandemic, we also do most of our learning through Applications like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Basically, our world has transformed into an Application age. We eat with the aid of mobile applications, we travel with the help of mobile applications and we study through mobile applications.

Furthermore, it is also possible to consult medical professionals through online platforms like Daktari Online and get legal advice through some of the legal apps available on Google Playstore or App store. As new areas emerge in which the human experience can be made significantly easier through applications and online platforms, more and more young and innovative minds are likely to venture into the field of App development.

As with all other areas of life the technological sphere is highly regulated by a series of laws that span through different stages of the App development process. Whether it’s forming the right entity, complying with the national privacy laws or intellectual property issues relating to software ownership, an App Developer who is not cognizant of the legal requirements that surround their field is likely to get into trouble with the law.

This is why every App Developer needs competent legal advice in the background as they develop their groundbreaking or spicy food delivery App. The legal advice that they will need largely touches on three major areas;

PRIVACY POLICIES

A privacy policy is a legal statement or document that declares a firm, website, or app’s policy on the gathering and use of its user’s personal information. In particular, it outlines how site operators will collect, store, protect, and utilise personal data provided by users. Personal data includes all the information relating to an individual. This includes names, physical addresses, email, and online addresses, debit and credit card information, telephone numbers, identification information, etc. How this information is shared and divulged to third parties is a sensitive issue under Kenyan Data Laws.

App Developers need to ensure that they are compliant with the Data Protection Act. With all the jargon and legal speak in the Act, this is easiest done through the help of a Lawyer. This is because, depending on the type of Application, many App Developers will automatically be classified as Data Controllers who are heavily regulated under the Data Protection Act.

INCORPORATING THE RIGHT ENTITY

A lot of time is spent by App Developers in trying to figure out the exact corporate entity to use to launch their apps. Depending on the circumstances, the best entity might be a partnership or a company or a mix of both. But only a legal professional who is abreast with the current company and partnership laws in the country can give the best advice that is specific to the needs of the App Developer at the moment.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

When developing and distributing a mobile app, an App Developer must consider and address both protecting its own IP rights and minimizing its risk of infringing the IP rights of others. Developing a mobile app generally gives rise to new IP rights in a number of ways; the app, including its original software code and content, may qualify for copyright protection. Certain aspects of the app, including its source code, may be protectable by copyright or as a trade secret. Secondly, a process or method embodied in an app may be patentable. Thirdly, the app’s name may qualify for trademark protection. A good lawyer will be able to advise the App Developer on how to protect the intellectual property rights present in their idea.

The relationship between the App Developer and the Lawyer is a symbiotic one, one writes code, the other knows the National legal code. Together they have the capacity to shape the future.  

We live in a technological age. I’m sure that you’ve heard that phrase thrown around in a number of different contexts in your life. What it means is that we live in an age where humanity is on the verge of mastering the art of using technology to make life easier for the general population. At the advent of the industrial age, we learnt how to use fuel and engine motors to make travelling faster through motor vehicles and later through aeroplanes. We developed mobile technology and improved our means of communication. We traded horses for Airbuses and smoke signals for mobile phones but this was just the tip of the Iceberg.

In the 21st century, with the spread of the internet, technology moved closer home. Today, we can order food on our phones through Applications like Ubereats, rent cars and drivers for any given period of time or distance through Applications like UberTaxify and Little Cab. With the Covid 19 pandemic, we also do most of our learning through Applications like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Basically, our world has transformed into an Application age. We eat with the aid of mobile applications, we travel with the help of mobile applications and we study through mobile applications.

Furthermore, it is also possible to consult medical professionals through online platforms like Daktari Online and get legal advice through some of the legal apps available on Google Playstore or App store. As new areas emerge in which the human experience can be made significantly easier through applications and online platforms, more and more young and innovative minds are likely to venture into the field of App development.

As with all other areas of life the technological sphere is highly regulated by a series of laws that span through different stages of the App development process. Whether it’s forming the right entity, complying with the national privacy laws or intellectual property issues relating to software ownership, an App Developer who is not cognizant of the legal requirements that surround their field is likely to get into trouble with the law.

This is why every App Developer needs competent legal advice in the background as they develop their groundbreaking or spicy food delivery App. The legal advice that they will need largely touches on three major areas;

PRIVACY POLICIES

A privacy policy is a legal statement or document that declares a firm, website, or app’s policy on the gathering and use of its user’s personal information. In particular, it outlines how site operators will collect, store, protect, and utilise personal data provided by users. Personal data includes all the information relating to an individual. This includes names, physical addresses, email, and online addresses, debit and credit card information, telephone numbers, identification information, etc. How this information is shared and divulged to third parties is a sensitive issue under Kenyan Data Laws.

App Developers need to ensure that they are compliant with the Data Protection Act. With all the jargon and legal speak in the Act, this is easiest done through the help of a Lawyer. This is because, depending on the type of Application, many App Developers will automatically be classified as Data Controllers who are heavily regulated under the Data Protection Act.

INCORPORATING THE RIGHT ENTITY

A lot of time is spent by App Developers in trying to figure out the exact corporate entity to use to launch their apps. Depending on the circumstances, the best entity might be a partnership or a company or a mix of both. But only a legal professional who is abreast with the current company and partnership laws in the country can give the best advice that is specific to the needs of the App Developer at the moment.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

When developing and distributing a mobile app, an App Developer must consider and address both protecting its own IP rights and minimizing its risk of infringing the IP rights of others. Developing a mobile app generally gives rise to new IP rights in a number of ways; the app, including its original software code and content, may qualify for copyright protection. Certain aspects of the app, including its source code, may be protectable by copyright or as a trade secret. Secondly, a process or method embodied in an app may be patentable. Thirdly, the app’s name may qualify for trademark protection. A good lawyer will be able to advise the App Developer on how to protect the intellectual property rights present in their idea.

The relationship between the App Developer and the Lawyer is a symbiotic one, one writes code, the other knows the National legal code. Together they have the capacity to shape the future.  

Published by masibolaw

I help ambitious entrepreneurs to overcome legal and regulatory obstacles while growing their businesses.

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