App Ideas & NDA (Non Disclosure Agreements)

In Education // By

Do I need a NDA?

Many clients come to me with ideas about apps they want to create, and most are worried about protecting their idea. And more often than not, the term NDA (Non Disclosure Agreements) comes up. It’s usually the first and usually default step someone takes to make them feel more secure. There was a great article written about NDA’s by Dan Shapiro a few years back, I really suggest you read the whole article What You Probably Don’t Know About Non Disclosure Agreements . My favorite except from his article really boils down NDA’s;

It’s almost never going to happen that you actually sue someone for disclosing a secret and prevail. It’s just too hard, too complicated, and frankly too easy to lie your way out of getting caught. How are they going to prove they didn’t just think of the idea themselves, or hear it from a different, third party that wasn’t covered by an NDA? Remember that if you have 99 people sign an NDA and 1 person doesn’t, that person can publish your idea in the Wall Street Journal – and to add insult to injury, when they do, the other NDAs all become invalid since they only apply to confidential information.

I believe if you want true protection, you should invest some money in patents. They are very complicated and hard to get approved but if your idea is truly unique, once your patents are approved then you have some real leverage with enforcement.

Unique Idea

99% of ideas are not new! Every single day someone comes to me with a “revolutionary money making” idea, however these are almost always based on existing products or ideas. They only take a small twist on the idea, or apply it in a new and interesting way. The most important factor you need to account for, is execution! You can have the greatest and newest idea in the world but with bad execution, nothing will come of it. Even a old idea can become successful with proper execution. Two great examples of these are POOL NOODLES and PHONE FINGERPRINT SCANNER.

POOL NOODLES: Initially used in construction to fill gaps and holes, the inventor added a bit of color and persevered 6 years before they became a huge success. A great example of a old boring idea, but executed properly in a new market.

PHONE FINGERPRINT SCANNER: Motorola originally had finger print scanners on their 2011 Atrix phone, years before iPhone received theirs. A great new idea, executed poorly by Motorola led to failure to gain any traction in the market.

Based on these two examples, you can understand my belief in finding the right team with the experience to properly execute your idea. This will be the difference between success and failure for your app idea!