Creating an app comes with challenges, one of which is intellectual property rights. This article looks at what fitness influencers should be aware of.
If you pay for the development of an app will you own the entirety of the app? You may assume that the answer is yes, of course – I paid for it. But that is not how the law of intellectual property right ownership works and depending on how many service providers are involved, you can end up with intellectual property rights arising left, right and centre.
Who owns the intellectual property rights for the app?
The starting point is, the owner of the intellectual property (“IP”) is the author (or creator) of the item that is created. That might be the app itself (or software), the branding and/or the content included in the app. This means that several different parties have the potential to own IP rights in the app, unless there is a comprehensive app development contract in place (and if appropriate, a separate IP assignment agreement dealing with ownership of the branding or content).
There are some exceptions to this, but in most cases, an app developer and/or designer will be engaged in the same way as any other service provider and will therefore own the intellectual property rights in the work that they create, and this is regardless of any payment made. It is important for a contract to be put in place to ensure that the ownership of the IP is in the right place.
What fitness influencers should be aware of
With something like a fitness app, which may include pre-recorded workouts and/or recipes, the same principles apply. The author of the content is the owner of the intellectual property rights and this is not always the individual in the video or content itself, unless otherwise dealt with by way of a legal IP assignment agreement.
Development of an app or platform can result in a patchwork of rights scenario, where the software developer owns the code (the “stuff” behind the scenes which is making sure that the app functions correctly), the designer owns the branding and (depending on how it is created), the fitness influencer or the videographer or photographer may own the content included in the app.
At Stephens Scown we have both expertise in advising on and drafting software development agreements, IP assignments and advising influencers on their obligations – including brand partnerships and promotional content.
If you have questions or would like to put an agreement in place, please get in touch.
More information on the legal requirements for influencers is available here: