Did you make a company before launching your app?

Discussion in 'App Store Business, Legal and Marketing' started by TreInJapan, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2012
    Hello! :)

    I'm in the process of putting a few apps together. I'm an American and will be working with the US App Store, though I actually live in Japan currently.

    Just wondering what your personal experience is with legal protection for your apps and ideas.

    Did you create a legal entity (Corp, LLC or SP) BEFORE launching your apps, or AFTER? It seems like it would be important to have the legal protection at the time of launching in case someone were to steal your ideas.

    Also, if I were to submit an app to the AppStore that unintentionally had some similar characters or features to something else already for sale somewhere in the world, would I be liable for "stealing" an idea?

    Thanks so much!
  2. macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2003
    Milwaukee, WI
    We haven't made one yet. It depends how much money you have. Sure, if you own a house and have a nice nest egg, you might want to get an LLC just for protection. But you don't need one to enforce copyright laws if someone steals your idea, and its unlikely you're going to get sued if you're making something original.
    If you're just starting out, its not worth the money. If you've got a nice little app business in progress, you might want to consider it.
  3. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    The Centennial State
    TreInJapan, getting proper answers to some of your questions will probably (and unfortunately ? ;) ) require consulting a lawyer.
  4. macrumors 68020


    Feb 16, 2012
    The might be a good legal/business forum out there. That might save you the cost of a lawyer.
  5. macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2012
    I preferred to establish my Apple Developer account under my company name, as I didn't want my name showing in the App Store and I thought it might help insulate against any potential liability issues.

    However, Apple requires Articles of Incorporation as well as other documentation to do so. I couldn't find my Artitcles of Inc. and had to go to the Secretary of the State office to get copies. Still, worth the effort, in my opinion.
  6. macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2011
    No. Ideas are a dime a dozen. With so many apps, everything has already been done
    many times over.

    The whole point of being a LLC is to limit liability. If you're worried about getting sued,
    just setup a separate bank account for your business. Keep your personal funds separate.

    Someone can sue you for a million bucks, but they're not going to get it.
    Especially if your montly AppStore earnings is less than a bag of peanuts.
  7. macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2007
    Well, that isn't true, on both accounts. Twitter has a patent on the pull-to-refresh gesture. They've basically said they won't sue anyone else over it, but they could if they wanted to. Or consider the ongoing Loadsys debacle -- many app developers have been threatened with legal action by them.

    So you should always think about protecting yourself when you sell goods in a global market. Some customer could decide to sue you. It's better to be safe than play it loose. But as always, I'm not a lawyer; this is not legal advice.
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2011
    I'm sure there are advantages, tax and other, to setting yourself up as a business of some kind. I don't know anything about this, but it looks useful as a cheap way to do it..

  9. macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2011
    Not at all. "Ideas" don't fall into the category of patents or trademarks. "Ideas" cannot be copyrighted.

    And I would highly doubt a big-time company would want to sue a little guy. Companies can size you
    up pretty quickly like a shark. If they don't smell money, then they're not going to attack. :)
  10. macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2007
    Not at all? I'm not sure what you're referring to...? Are you saying you don't believe Twitter has a pull-to-refresh patent?

    They do: http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/27/pull-to-refresh-the-patent/
  11. macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2011
    I'm saying you shouldn't steal patents and trademarks. Companies will definitely sue.
    But, an "idea" is just an "idea". There are a million of them.
  12. macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2012
    I have just used my name. In that way you don't have to do a lot of paperwork. But for me it's more a hobby. If it is your profession, it's handier to set up a company.
  13. macrumors 68000


    Jun 9, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    I develop my Mac/iOS applications on the side as a hobby, and simply post them under my name. Have been doing so for almost two years, with no problems.

    Your mileage may vary, of course. The only downside is that since the sales from the App Store count as self-employment income (again, contact a CPA, your situation may be different!) I pay a pretty hefty tax on that income. :)
  14. macrumors 65816


    May 25, 2012
    I created an LLC before publishing any apps. It cost about $80 total and was a pretty painless process.
  15. macrumors 68000


    Jun 19, 2007
    White Lake, MI
    I believe you on twitter holding that patent, but then how does Apple get away with including a pull to refresh control that you can add to your table view in iOS6
  16. macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2007
    How? Well, either they implemented their pull-to-refresh in a different way, they're assuming (based on the patent inventor saying he wouldn't enforce it) like everyone else that Twitter won't go after people, or they've made a secret agreement with Twitter. For instance, Apple pays a license fee to Amazon for their ridiculous "one-click shopping" patent for use with the online Apple Store.
  17. macrumors regular


    Jun 10, 2013
    under a freeway underpass
    LLC for $80? details please.
  18. macrumors 65816


    May 25, 2012
    if you fill out the articles of organization yourself with your state it should be about $50. It is like 2 pages of info very very easy stuff. Send your check along with the 2 pages and I think it takes about 1-2 weeks. Once you are finalized you have like 2 months to publish that you started the company in a local paper this costs about $25 and they have links/directions on how to do that on the llc website.

    Paying someone to do your llc is crazy paying more than $200 is insane.
  19. macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Just because a patent holder has certain legal rights does not mean they have to exercise all those rights. Or they can exercise those rights by licensing out their patents or copyrights, for anywhere from expensive fees in the billions to free (in dollars).

    But IANAL, so go ask one.

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