What if someone copies my web app idea and makes an iPhone app out of it?


So say I have a new "simple" web app idea and it somehow becomes very popular after days of its launch.

I don't have the funding to make an iPhone app of the site and someone makes one before I do. What are the chances of this happening? And what can I do about it before and after?


asked Feb 5 '11 at 09:17
141 points
  • The idea is very simple but never done before. – Matt 12 years ago

3 Answers


At the end of the day there isn't anything you can do to stop this. If you think your idea would make a valuable/popular iPhone application, it may be worth holding off on the website launch until you have the funds to get an application developed. It depends on the app.

answered Feb 5 '11 at 10:44
31 points
  • Joel, might make more sense to launch the site, use its revenues and customer base to add an iphone app. I wouldnt even bother making a full Iphone native app, but rather a mobile version of the site that would work on multiple platforms rather than just ios. Jquery has a good framework for mobile development. – Frank 12 years ago


There's not much you can do to keep someone from taking your idea and recreating it if it is basic. If you can patent your software that would help, but that is very difficult to do, and for simple software it's about impossible.

With a good copyright and possibly some trademarks you can keep the entirety of your app from being stolen. If someone wants to just take the time to recreate your app with their own design for another device, there's not much you can do.

answered Feb 5 '11 at 09:45
Justin C
838 points


You need to see if you can create a sustainable competitive advantage. You can do this in other ways than just writing the code. Even if you do write an iPhone app, there's nothing to stop anyone copying it unless you have some other strategies in place.

I just wrote an extended answer on how you can create a sustainable competitive advantage here :

answered Feb 5 '11 at 23:31
Susan Jones
4,128 points

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