One of the guys on the local Florida Windows Phone List asked a question about his app which is a medical app. He was becoming worried that he might have legal issues with his app. This resulted into a really nice thread on legal issues and your app (and your business).
I decided to go ahead and make a quick write up (for me as well as for anyone else).
Rule # 1 cover yourself at all times!
Think about the lady who got burnt by McDonald’s coffee who sued because they didn’t say it was hot! You might think the lawsuit was frivolous, but it illustrates the problem. Someone using your app ends up setting their device (and house) on fire, you could get blamed (Ok, that’s extreme, but you get the idea). You can never be too careful!
This advice sounds scary, but there are solutions here.. Don’t give up just yet! Lawyers exist for this very reason.
[Keith Kabza had the best bit of info on this -- I have to credit the source as the info is good, and much of the post from here comes from Keith’s knowledge] To the specifics of medical related apps, you need to make sure you aren’t violating any laws related HIPAA (In my personal experience you need to find someone that knows those laws and walk them through what you are doing – if you don’t know someone, come to a local user group and ask if anyone there knows anything about HIPAA). You also need to avoid exposing data their data without using encryption and basic security principals. The good news is there is limited risk in selling mobile apps.
Next operate as an LLC! This protects you to a point. Form there get at least limited liability insurance. It will cost you about $800 a year, but it will cover you for $1 million. [these next 3 nuggets from from Henry Lee] Additionally you may want to get Errors and Omission insurance which really covers the scenario where someone burns down their house while using their app (that’s extreme, but has happened). Also, getting umbrella insurance to cover anything not covered by the previous two insurances. The short is that you want to cover yourself on all legal aspects because you don’t want your spare time building an app to cause you to lose your house.
You want an attorney when you are crafting your licensing agreements. You want it to be written to protect you from frivolous lawsuits.This is something that gets overlooked by many of us! The lawyer Keith recommended (who specializes in this stuff) charges about $3000.
A few additional resources came up in the thread, and here they are:
www.techinsurance.com – they are an insurance company who simply finds the best rate for you. (via Henry Lee)
legalzoom.com – offers a whole suite of legal solutions and you can get liability coverage for about $450 a year. (via Greg Leonardo)