Developing a mobile app has its own unique legal issues. Getting this right was high on David Walker’s agenda when he developed Paddle Logger, an app to track your progress after a day on the water. Kathryn Heath, Senior Associate in the IP and IT team at Stephens Scown, helped Paddle Logger on a number of legal issues. 

Paddling to success

The idea for Paddle Logger came – like many of the best business ideas – after spotting a gap in the market.

“I am a keen stand up paddle boarder and I wanted to find a way to track my sessions. There were a few apps on the market to track land-based sports like running and cycling, but I realised there was no software or app that could do the same for paddle sports, so I set about creating my own,” says David.

It has been a steep learning curve. “I’ve been learning how to set up a business and build an app as I go. I don’t have a technical background, so it has been challenging at times.”

Over the last few years the app has been attracting interest from paddle sport enthusiasts around the world, with almost 70% of downloads coming from the USA – all from David’s base in Falmouth.

Paddle Logger is one of a growing number of Cornish businesses using satellite technology. “This is the perfect base for us as we look forward to horizontal launch satellites at Spaceport Cornwall in the next few years,” says David.

A zero friction app

The app allows paddle sports enthusiasts to track their progress after a session on the water. “It can be used for a variety of sports from canoeing to dragon boating, but the two most popular at the moment are kayaking and stand up paddle boarding,” says David.

The app uses the GPS tracker in iOS devices, so does not require Wi-Fi connection or phone reception.

Other paddle sports apps have now come onto the market but David explains what sets Paddle Logger apart: “Our aim is to create zero friction and ensure that Paddle Logger is quick and simple to use so that paddlers are not distracted. The app itself is very clean and simple. The buttons are deliberately large so that paddlers with cold hands won’t have any trouble using them!”

The user simply presses a button when they start their session, then safely stows their device and gets on with enjoying their time on the water. After their session they can review their stats, track their progress and share their data with friends. The app can integrate with other fitness trackers including Apple Health and it is the only paddle app built for Apple Watch.

Safety first

Paddle Logger offers a subscription service which unlocks more features including the PiT (paddler in trouble) feature.

“Again, this is simple to use. Users add their emergency contacts to the app, then at the start of their session update their estimated journey time. Before that time is up the app will ask if the user wants to extend their session. They will have several prompts and if they don’t respond and their trip time is exceeded the app will automatically send a message to their emergency contacts, with a link to the paddler’s route and last known location,” says David.

“A lot of work needs to be done to change the narrative around the safety of paddle sports. We want to be part of that and ensure using a service app like ours as part of a multi-layered approach will become second nature.”

Legal support

“There are a number of legal issues that app developers need to think about,” says Kathryn Heath, senior associate in the intellectual property and IT team at Stephens Scown.

“From ensuring you own the intellectual property in the app and getting your contracts with suppliers and third parties right to having clear and accessible terms of use, there is a lot to consider.”

A particular issue is ‘privacy by design’. “Under data protection legislation businesses have a legal obligation to design their services using the principles of ‘privacy by design’. You need to ensure your privacy policy is fit for purpose and easily accessible on a small screen,” adds Kathryn.

David has found Kathryn’s advice invaluable. “Kathryn has the patience of a saint! I’m not a technical expert but my business partner Lewis is, so on the one hand I’m looking for the big picture and on the other Lewis has a keen eye for the technical implications some of the suggestions would involve. Kathryn was brilliant at explaining what we needed to do and why it was important. 

“We were looking for a law firm that could advise us on both intellectual property and data protection, which not all firms can do. I’d seen Kathryn give a presentation on these areas of law and felt she really knew her stuff. When Kathryn met with us in person we were really impressed with her knowledge of both intellectual property and data protection. We want our customers to trust us, and a big part of that is not misusing their data, so we had to ensure we got it right from the start. With Kathryn’s help we have been able to do that.”

So what is next for Paddle Logger? “We are planning to add new features such as integrating with heart rate monitors and enhancements like stitching two journeys together. Our objective is always to boost our feature list, but without compromising the simplicity of the app.”

For more information on Paddle Logger, go to