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I have an idea for what i believe would be a profitable Apple app store application. I also know that i don't have sufficient knowledge to complete it from start to finish and need help from more experienced iOS developers.

Is there a standard NDA you have used and liked that would allow you to discuss details of the application with a 3rd party having a reasonable comfort that your idea won't be stolen?

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up vote 15 down vote accepted

Because laws vary dramatically from state to state in the US, you need to get one appropriate for the state you're in, assuming you're in the US, or the country you're in, if you're somewhere else. You may find some boilerplate document online, but without speaking with an attorney, you can't be sure it's the right document for your situation.

That being said, if the idea alone is enough to put your business at risk, it's probably not that valuable of an idea. Most software developers have tons of ideas, and some of them are probably better than yours; what they generally don't have is time to implement them all. Someone who is looking for a contract gig or a job is unlikely to drop everything after hearing your brilliant idea to work on an app that implements the same idea for several months without pay and then ship a product based entirely on that idea and market it successfully. If they're willing to talk to you at all, it's generally because they're looking for some form of income. So don't worry about theft of your ideas so much.

(FWIW, don't try to defer all compensation to a share of profits/sales; if you try that and all you're pitching is an idea, the rational developer will ask what they need you for).

The primary value of the NDA is to allow you to discuss trade secrets and implementation details without fear of theft of intellectual property. If you don't have implementation details, chances are there's nothing to protect. Although it's counter-intuitive, unless your idea is patentable, an idea for an application doesn't really count as intellectual property.

This is why you often see so many clones of well-known ideas (how many implementations of Tetris are out there?) but most companies spend most of their effort defending their brand (those Tetris clones can't use the same name). The execution of your business concept will matter more than the idea.

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A wonderful response. Thank you! –  Jam Jul 30 '11 at 18:38
    
a very relevant lecture about the value of ideas: infoq.com/presentations/Innovation-at-Google –  Karoly Horvath Jul 30 '11 at 23:30
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Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats. -- Howard Aiken –  John Smith Jul 31 '11 at 2:38
    
Wow, exactly what I'm looking for. (Y) –  yvonnezoe Jun 6 '13 at 7:48
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