Podcast #9: App Development Legal Issues: Open Source, Copyright, API Terms of Use and More

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Today, we will discuss the business and, particularly, the legal landscape faced by application (App) developers dealing with mobile platforms (iOS, Android and Blackberry being dominant), including dealing with application interfaces (APIs) when developing based on existing applications, and, of course, client relationships.

I am joined today by Liz Steininger, co-founder of Tapangi Consulting and project manager in the DC Government’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer.  Tapangi Consulting specializes in mobile and HTML5 application development as well as content management.  Liz is also an active member of the DC Tech community and you can find her on Twitter as @liz315.

Some of the issues we discuss today are these:

  • Protecting ideas in early stages of pitching to potential clients.
  • Application developer agreements and API Terms of Use (TOUs).
  • Platform question: As a developer, how do you think about development based on different platform (e.g. Android or iOS or Blackberry) or a specific API?
  • Copyright and “open source” issues, GPL, libraries, use of third-party code.
  • Ownership and Rights Issues
  • Privacy and uses of personal information (PI).

Please click here for the podcast.

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Innovation is Collaborative: What about Noncompetes?

In a recent podcast, Neal Seth and I discussed protection of ideas, focusing particularly on the problem where someone has a business plan, a concept, a script, or really just an idea for doing something. They want to pursue it somehow, but they’re worried that sharing it with anybody will open them up to all sorts of problems.

What’s the solution? There’s always the most traditional and perhaps the most primitive solution: Lock up the idea. Meaning: Do everything you can to make sure that anything that anyone does for you as a developer, contractor, employee, business partner, vendor or whatever is owned by you or your new company. Continue reading

Podcast #3: Intellectual Property: Protecting Ideas, Concepts, Processes and Plans

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In today’s podcast, we discuss intellectual property issues, specifically the question of how to protect ideas.  My guest is Neal Seth, a partner in Baker Hostetler’s Washington, DC office. Neal’s practice focuses on patent litigation and appeals.  Neal has handled numerous litigation and appellate matters in a variety of technologies, including the pharmaceutical, chemical, electrical, and mechanical fields in district courts, the ITC, and the Federal Circuit.

This is not meant to be a true “primer” on intellectual property protection.  Instead, we’re going to look at the very practical threshold problems entrepreneurs and small businesses face when developing and pursuing new ideas for businesses.

Our questions: What is the major practical problem with patents from the perspective of someone with an idea?  What can copyrights really do for someone?  For example the software developer: What does it mean to copyright software and what kind of protection does it get you (and not get you)?  We discuss major limitations against “descriptive” trademarks.  We discuss trade secrets and how trade secrets are distinct from patent or copyright.  What about Non-disclosure Agreements (NDAs) or Confidentiality Agreements?  Is it necessary to have all interested parties sign an NDA before reviewing a business plan or even taking a meeting?  What benefits?

Please click play below to hear the podcast.

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