It is clear now that mobile devices, like the Apple iPhone or RIM Blackberry, which can be loaded with user selected applications, represent a critical bridge in delivering the right content, to the right user, at the right time. Historically, as users of mobile devices, we have been subject to limited content that was selected and offered by our respective carriers. Now, with access to nearly a hundred thousand applications (in the case of the iPhone) we are able to personalize our mobile device to ideally suit our lifestyle and business needs, and can do so on-demand.
Like the devices themselves, the applications that run on them are continually improving in quality, sophistication, functionality, and usability. In addition, applications have emerged as a key marketing and sales tool and represent a new means for interfacing with a target audience by providing unique access to products or services. From a business perspective, whether the developer of the application is an individual, a small company, or a global conglomerate; the issue of protecting the value of your application for sustained competitive advantage must be considered.
The following are some questions that may assist in determining whether or not you should consider formal IP methodologies to protect your application:
If you answered "Yes" to one or several of the questions above, you may want to consider formal IP protection of your application. If you expect mobile applications will become an established channel of communication for your business, you should consider implementing a formal strategy to guide the development process, from generation ideas to prototype creation to selection of best mode of IP protection.
The development and distribution of mobile applications represents an unparalleled opportunity to reach customers, generate revenues, and strengthen your brand. Do you want to protect and maximize this opportunity, or just leave it to chance?