Updated: May 20, 2020
We recently helped an amazing Virtual Reality startup protect itself against the legal risks associated with Beta Testing its product. In this blog post, I share some things you should consider before conducting a Beta Testing Assessment of your product (app/platform). What is Beta Testing? Beta Testing is an Acceptance Testing method in software development which adds value to the product as intended real-world end-users validate the product for functionality, usability, reliability, and compatibility. To quote Instabug “There is no standard for what a beta test should look like or how it should be set up. But, in essence, beta testing is giving a finished or nearly finished product to a sample of current or potential users to evaluate its performance in the real world.” Keeping this in mind, depending on your product, the objectives of your Beta Test, and the types of testers involved, legally speaking, it is wise to regulate the Beta Test through a contractual agreement.
What Are The Risks Involved? In opening up a product to the public (despite being a limited number of persons i.e. testers), various risks can arise, including those relating to: confidentiality, intellectual property, licensing, permitted uses, prohibited uses, acceptable conduct online, compensation, relationship of the parties, support for testers, privacy, liability, disclaimers and warranties, and publicity.
While all of the above considerations are imperative, it is worth emphasising the importance of regulating and defining:
ownership and use of intellectual property (especially in the product and any tester feedback and suggestions);
user generated comments on the app/platform;
what a tester is allowed to publish publicly about the app/platform during and after testing;
what warranties are made about the product; and
the extent of liability, if any, your company will assume stemming from use of the app/platform.
What Are The Benefits?
Despite safeguarding your company from the above associated legal-risks, there are advantages in constructing a strong Beta Testing agreement (amongst others) for due diligence purposes. As a start-up, it is imperative that ‘investability’ status is kept in mind - a core aspect thereof being solid internal governance and protected legal interests. #digitalcommercelaw #intellectualproperty #digitalprivacylaw #ecommerce #startups
Disclaimer: the information contained in this Insight is for awareness and discussion purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For any enquiries, please get in touch at email@example.com