Intellectual Property and Mobile Applications

Mobile applications have become an indispensable part of daily life in the digital world. The mobile app economy has grown exponentially, driven by a vast community of software developers.

Intellectual property (IP) mechanisms help mobile application developers and publishers to generate more income from their creations.

The WIPO Committee on Intellectual Property and Development (CDIP) considers the enhanced use of IP by software developers as a topic of particular interest and has launched a specific project to this end.

The project seeks to improve the understanding of the potential of IP for income generation in mobile applications and to empower mobile application developers with tools for using IP in their work.

Infographic prepared with the kind assistance of ACT I The App Association.

Infographic prepared with the kind assistance of ACT I The App Association.

Infographic: It Pays to Protect

Copyright Law protects original works of authorship — like mobile apps — by giving creators rights to control online access, reproduction, distribution and adaptations.

Tools

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WIPO Guide on Alternative Dispute Resolution for Mobile Applications Disputes

This Guide provides an overview of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes for Mobile Apps disputes. It also addresses the issues relating to the enhanced use of IP in the software sector, focusing on mobile applications.

Download the Guide

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Handbook on Key Contracts for Mobile Applications – A Developer's Perspective

This Handbook is a practical tool for app developer organizations. It provides a thorough grounding in IP contract basics that is important to understand before consulting specialised IP professionals.

Download the Handbook

Research

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WIPO Study on IP and Mobile Applications

This study provides practical advice to mobile app developers and publishers to help them make informed strategic business decisions based on the relevant legal ecosystem and IP law considerations that should be considered when designing and publishing mobile apps.

Download the Study

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Scoping Study on the Availability and IP Tools for Mobile Applications

The scoping study identifies IP protection mechanisms for mobile apps in three beneficiary countries: Kenya, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Philippines.

Download the Scoping Study

Learning resources

The five modules below explain how various types of IP interface with the mobile app market and describe the most relevant IP law aspects for app developers and publishers. These modules were developed by Dr. Andres Guadamuz, Senior Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law at the University of Sussex and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of World Intellectual Property.

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Module 1: Introduction to Intellectual Property

Module 1 provides an introduction to intellectual property law and the framework in which the IP legal principles operate.

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Module 2: Copyright

Module 2 introduces copyright protection in detail, exploring concepts such as subject matter, originality, infringement, and defenses.

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Module 3: Data, Databases and Trade Secrets

Module 3 discusses the relative lack of protection given to data, the lack of international harmonization, and database security.

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Module 4: Trademarks and Designs

Module 4 discusses trademarks and designs, and it will also mention some relevant aspects, such as domain name registration.

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Module 5: Enforcement and licensing

The last module looks at more specific questions surrounding the mobile app market, particularly those surrounding enforcement, licensing, and rights management.