When hiring a developer to create a mobile application it’s important to execute a mobile application development agreement. In many cases your developer may be an independent contractor rather than an employee, thus the rights and obligations of the company and the freelancer should be outlined in a written agreement that’s signed by both parties. Below is a list of items to consider when drafting an app development agreement.

  • Responsibilities of the developer
  • Responsibilities of the company
  • Specifications for the application
  • Timing, completion, and milestones related to development of the application
  • Testing and support period
  • Warranties
  • Disclaimers
  • IP transfer
  • Liability for infringement of third party intellectual property

One particularly important aspect of an app development agreement is intellectual property transfer. Many companies mistakenly believe that they will own the rights to the developer’s work simply because they paid the developer to develop the app. However, by default U.S. copyright law automatically vests all ownership rights in application to the developer unless he is an employee of the company. Therefore, in order for the company to get ownership rights to the software a written agreement that includes “work for hire” and “assignment of interest” provisions should be signed by the developer if he’s working in an independent contractor capacity.


Mobile application development agreements are beneficial because they clarify the expectations of the company and the developer, help to define the scope of the project, and prevent disputes among the parties. If you’re a company hiring a freelancer to develop your app be smart and have a solid app development contract in place before the project begins.

 Thomas Law Firm PLLC | 175 Varick St | New York, NY 10014 | P: (212) 203-9975 | scott@thomaslawfirm.co