What are the legal requirements for an app development contract?

calender May 8, 2023
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Sunil Kumar

Principle Solution Architect

Mobile app development is a lucrative business since the demand for app development is rapidly increasing. In fact, an expert prediction by Statista states that the global app market revenue will reach $430.90 billion by the final quarter of 2022 and $614.40 billion by 2026. Entering such a market with the right plan and precautions can lead to continued revenue growth for your business.

Now while you can check our app development process and app development cost articles to get more insights, this article will primarily cover the legal aspects of mobile app development agreements. It is often the less talked about aspects of app development that are necessary to protect your app and its data from issues like copyright infringement or ban/removal from the app store.

App Development Agreement

Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA)

A non-disclosure agreement is a contractual document that helps in protecting an app idea. Signing an NDA is one of the best ways to protect your product concept and keep certain information confidential. It also proves extremely helpful when you outsource to offshore developers as they protect source code, credentials, business plans, and trade secrets.

Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property rights define the originality of the work created during the mobile application development process. Aspects like designs, code, app content, app names, ideas, and logo are all intellectual properties that belong to the app owner. Intellectual property rights protect these aspects with Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents.

  • Copyright: They legally secure your source code, app design, and content from theft.
  • Patents: They protect the originality of your app idea and its consensual usage.
  • Trademarks: They protect things like your app name, logo, icons, and slogan.

Terms and Conditions

Terms and conditions or End-user License Agreements (EULA) are legal agreements that app developers create for the correct app usage by the end users. These agreements usually come into effect automatically when users install and use the app as they provide guidelines and requirements to use the app, why they are crucial, and what would happen if the users do not follow the guidelines/laws/regulations mentioned in the agreement.

The End-user License Agreement (EULA) also protects your business from app development legal issues when the users do not follow the guidelines and misuse the app. Many apps require the users to read and approve the agreement before they can use the app. You should check out the terms and conditions by Netflix to get a better idea about how they work.

Ailoitte advice: Create the EULA and Terms and Conditions agreements separately if the app owner is not the same as the app service provider. The difference between them is that EULA is an agreement between the developer and end users, while Terms and Conditions are an agreement between a service provider and the end users.

Privacy Policy

Privacy policy defines the privacy rights the end users have in the app. The document explains how the app will gather, store, and manage their data and how the data collection will happen only with the end-user consent.

These policies explain data protection rights to users to help them make a decision about using the app further. The privacy policy must also inform how the app protects user data and whether they share it with third parties.

App Store Agreements

You have to comply with the terms and conditions of the app store agreement to publish your app. The stores create and modify them to protect the app and the end users from time to time, so you will have to regularly monitor these agreements.

Every app on the app store has to modify its legal documents, products, or services to meet the requirements of the new app store agreements. Not complying with the agreements can result in a permanent ban or removal from the app store.

Check out the app store agreements by Google Play and Apple App Store for your app.

App Jurisdiction

Providing your app to local or both local and international users requires you to comply with all the legal regulations associated with apps in those regions. However, there is no one law for such jurisdictional compliances. The type of app you develop will reveal the laws and regulations your app will need to comply with in different regions. For example, building a fintech application in the US will require you to comply with finance-related laws in the US.

The same app for a global user base will require you to become familiar with all the finance-related legal requirements in different countries and ensure that your app complies with them.

Hire a legal advisor/lawyer to manage app development contracts like these. You can also check out this brief US fintech laws and regulations article by ICLG.com to better understand how these laws work.


The development of a mobile application is a complex process that requires careful evaluation of all factors like design, developers, and legal requirements. Complying with all the legal requirements in application development will help you avoid a situation where your developed application gets banned or removed in a few or all regions, faces copyright infringement, or gets sued by a user for invasion of privacy.

You can also talk to experts from an experienced mobile app development company like us to understand all the legal requirements associated with different apps. We can meet your app development needs and guide you through all the legal requirements like non-disclosure agreements, privacy policies, terms and conditions, and app store agreements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you copyright an app idea?

Yes, you can. You can have copyrights, trademarks, and patents for your app ideas.

What are the ethical issues of a mobile app?

Poor data security, invasion of privacy, overly complicated terms and conditions agreements, and automatic or non-consensual approval of privacy policies/terms and conditions are some ethical issues of a mobile app.

How do you make an app legal?

Make sure your app complies with all the legal requirements associated with the app content and the regions where you make your app available for use. Read the article above to get a better idea.

Are there laws to protect a mobile app?

Yes, laws like intellectual property rights, copyrights laws, privacy laws, and terms and conditions will protect you from legal problems if your app complies with them.

Pumarehistro says:

Thank you for your sharing. I am worried that I lack creative ideas. It is your article that makes me full of hope. Thank you. But, I have a question, can you help me?

Chad says:

Too much detailed and informative for beginners and also for developers who want to develop a Lawyer App. Thank you and Keep sharing like this!

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