What can you do when your iOS or Android app gets ripped off?

ios android app ripped off singapore

The heady days of the “gold rush” of the App stores may have come and gone but there’re still many mobile app entrepreneurs making a living developing iOS or Android apps and games.

Unfortunately, this “gold rush” has also led to myriad scams being developed to separate hardworking entrepreneurs from what’s rightfully theirs, namely the intellectual property of a mobile app that they’ve painstakingly created.

It can be extremely painful for an independent developer to go through this. If you’ve spent a whole lot of time and effort to create an app your startup can be proud of, the last thing you want is to see a copied version of your app in the App store a day after your app launches.

Remember Flappy Bird? After the developer, Dong Nguyen, took the game off the Apple’s iOS App store, it was discovered that there were sixty Flappy Bird clones being uploaded to the store per day.

So what should you do if discover a copied version of your app on an App store?

Step 1:

If there’s an identical version of your app or game on an App store or a version you strongly suspect has been copied from your app, the first thing you should do is to try and have it removed from the relevant App store by sending them a notice.

However, this is something you should be very careful about as misrepresentations made in your notice regarding whether material or activity is infringing on your copyright may expose you to liability as well. You should consider the various copyright exceptions in Singapore’s Copyright Act before sending in your notice, and if you’re not certain whether there’s a copyright infringement at all, you should consider consulting a lawyer first.

If you do decide to go ahead, you can contact the respective iOS and Android App stores here:

Apple: http://www.apple.com/legal/internet-services/itunes/appstorenotices/

Android: https://support.google.com/legal/troubleshooter/1114905?product=androidmarket

While the form of notice in the App stores cater to the United States Digital Millenium Copyright Act, the App stores will respond to notices of this form from other jurisdictions as well.

Step 2:

Send a cease and desist letter to the infringing party. A simple cease and desist letter details out the cause of complaint, what has been infringed and makes a demand that the infringing party remove the infringing content from the relevant App store. You can draft the letter yourself but it’ll have more weight of force coming from a law firm.

Step 3:

In Singapore, you may take legal action when your copyright has been infringed, and the Singapore courts may grant you certain measures of relief in a civil lawsuit. Remedies can include injunctions or damages. However, litigation should always be a last resort, particularly for apps that aren’t earning a substantial income.

If you’d like to have an affordable, experienced lawyer assist you in a relevant legal matter, get in touch with us here.