As our business and social communications become increasingly based on mobile devices, there will be a continuing need for new applications (apps). As such, there will continue to be a strong market for new app developers. It may be that a group of like minded and talented individuals have decided to form a joint venture and create a new application. Or it may the instance where one is tired of being an employee, and has developed the skills, network, and talent to improve an app and develop a new app. It is sometimes difficult to predict the market success of an app, however, once you realize the potential of your venture there are some important legal issues that one should consider.
First, and foremost if you are developing a new app, and have not yet retained the services an a business law attorney, you may want to consider your options for forming a registered entity. In other words, you should strongly consider forming a corporation to organize your business and to set up a deal with the other founders. If you intend on seeking any funding rounds from venture capitalists or other private investors, you should strongly consider Delaware as your state for incorporation. Delaware has favorable corporate laws and, most importantly for venture capitalists and investors who will own shares of your company, does not tax shareholders.
The second issue to consider when developing a new app, and you will certainly need an attorney specializing in intellectual property and/or business (corporate) law to secure your rights to valuable app (intellectual property). You will need non-disclosure and non-compete (non-competition) agreements for your employees, independent contractors, investors, vendors, and other parties. You may need a trade mark to secure your rights to a particular name or tag line for your product of company. You may produce various media, art, graphics, designs, or other written materials that require Copyright protection so that you may restrict others from publishing or profiting from your intellectual property without your permission. Finally, you may have a process or method that is unique to your app, and you will require a patent attorney to assist you filing a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Another issue to consider is how your have structured your partnership with the other founders or key managers of your new app company. Who owns what and what that ownership interest provides (in terms of profits), voting on important corporate matters, etc. What happens when one of the founders disagrees with the direction of the company, and wants a "buyout?" How do you intend to handle the admission of new shareholders to the corporation, such as venture capital firms and other investors? These are but a few issues that any new app company must discuss with a small business lawyer in an effort to draft a shareholder agreement. It is essential to put down the deal in writing during the early development stages of any company to avoid potential financial and legal issues at a later date.
If you are seeking an attorney that can provide advice, counsel, and legal work for your new application (app) venture, please contact the Law Office of Stefan Cencarik, PLLC, a Lynnfield, Massachusetts business and intellectual property lawyer, at 617-669-9780 or visit www.northshorebusinesslaw.com.