Legal Services for App Developers - Audio/Voice Assistant, AR, VR, & Game Applications
Why would an audio and voice assistant, augmented reality, virtual reality or video game developer need a lawyer? To head off problems and address disputes that have not yet arisen and will generally not come up—that is, until the product is successful. The idea is to be prepared for the legal downside of success: the worldwide potential for infringement; the royalty contracts that often are nothing more than an elaborate bait-and-switch; the so-called once-in-a-lifetime offers that emerge when people perceive someone as experiencing financial success. Often, a law firm is all that stands between an innovator with a really impressive idea that hits and the rest of the public who wishes to grab a piece of it.
If you're concerned about protecting your app, please contact us via the form on the bottom of this page.
Emerging Audio and Voice Assistant, AR and VR and Video Game Technologies
Our firm’s commercial practice has a significant focus in the legal aspects of video game and software development and marketing. In addition to the more traditional iOS/Android apps, we are actively moving into the realm of representing developer clients who are working with the newest app-based implementations. With the advent of Amazon Alexa™ and Google Home™, coupled with artificial intelligence devices, on the one hand and augmented reality and virtual reality on the other, the options for developers have expanded beyond simply the iPhone™ and Android™. Accordingly, the developer community has a pressing need for attorneys who have a sophisticated understanding of legal issues relating to emerging technologies.
Our firm has also been actively working to anticipate the unique legal issues facing developers of audio and voice assistant, AR and VR and video game technologies. They include:
- Revenue Models While the public generally groups apps and Amazon Skills into the overarching category of “emerging digital technologies”, there really are differences in the revenue models for each. For example, there are legal terms or disclaimers that a developer may need to include in a free-to-play (F2P) app that are not applicable for an app which is sold, rather than given away. Counsel will need to take into account whether the revenue will be generated over time through in-app purchases, or will be accrued through a premium model, where the revenue is fixed at the outset of the customer transaction. There are also legal issues that arise with respect to other business models, such as an initial purchase fee with subscription-based payments thereafter.
- Audio/Video Since apps can contain both visuals and audio, while Skills and Google Home apps are strictly audio, the nature of the intellectual property protections are normally significantly different.
- Developer/Host There can be a divergence between the developer’s rights to create the product or service and the corresponding rights of the hosting company (Apple™, Amazon™, Google™, etc.) to impose its own restrictions.
- International IP Rights The expanded reach of these platforms necessitates international and national protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.
- Proprietary Rights Since apps can be developed on third party platforms, questions often arise regarding intellectual property ownership. Moreover, similar to traditional development models, it is critical to ensure that everyone who contributed to the work (such as other developers, actors, voice actors, etc.) has provided the primary app developer with proper work-for-hire agreements or assignment agreements (as applicable) to secure clear title in the intellectual property and other proprietary rights.
- Infringing/Copycat Apps/ Audio and Voice Assistant Applications App/Skills development has fewer market entry barriers. While it provides a wonderful opportunity for entrepreneurs and independent developers to have access to wide distribution that is rapid and requires little technical background, that same ease of entry is available to those who act in bad faith, as well. The end result is that this business paradigm can often become a magnet for infringing /copycat apps/Skills.
- Film/Television/Literary Rights When a successful app crosses over from the digital world to the larger realm of entertainment offerings such as film, television and even literature, corresponding contractual and intellectual property rights must be secured.
The list goes on. The bottom line is that the legal challenges in the audio and voice assistant, AR and VR and video game arenas are not just complex, they are unique. Our firm welcomes those challenges.
Our Legal Areas of Focus
Our legal services range from representing clients in the initial stages of developing an app (mobile, web or audio) to those marketing the finished product. This includes:
- Copyright for apps, audio and voice assistant applications and video games
- Trademark applications for branding
- Licensing agreements
- Film, television and literary option, production and publishing agreements
- Merchandise manufacturing and apparel license agreements
- Agency agreements
- Intellectual Property assignment and license agreements
- Artist, graphic design, actor and other consultant agreements
- Publicity agreements
- DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown notices sent to websites that display infringing content
- Federal and State lawsuits for injunctions to prevent infringement
- Federal and State lawsuits seeking damages for infringement
- Uniform Dispute Resolution Protocol (UDRP) procedures before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to compel the turnover of infringing domain names
- Commencing and defending actions before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board relating to the opposition or cancellation of trademark applications or registrations
- Coordinating with US Customs and other government agencies to prevent counterfeit, infringing goods from being imported and sold in the United States
- Click-through agreements, terms and conditions and privacy policies
Nissenbaum Law Group, LLC Articles and Blog Posts
Augmented Reality: Gotta Protect That IP, by Gary D. Nissenbaum, Esq. and Laura J. Magedoff, Esq., Apptentive, September 22, 2016
Profiled in: Gary D. Nissenbaum: Ace Gaming Attorney, by David Radd, Gamesauce.biz, September 10, 2016
The Increasing Pace of Digital Change: Why Does Our Culture Always Seem so Blindsided?, Huffingtonpost.com, August 4, 2016
The Intriguing Legal Ramifications of Pokémon GO, Brettterpstra.com, July 25, 2016
The Nissenbaum Law Group
- has offices in multiple states
- employs cutting edge law office technology to scale for efficiency and speed
- returns client phone calls and emails, usually in less than 24 hours