False Assumption: I shouldn’t share any details about my project (or iphone app idea) until I have an NDA for Software Development (Non-Disclosure Agreement) in place!
I believe that generalities (and overall objectives) of a project can be shared in order to determine if putting an NDA in place even makes sense.
An NDA for Software Development is Critical but…
NDAs are undoubtedly important, but let’s put that concern in its proper context. A software development companies‘ skills and focus are primarily on providing development services to their clients. This requires building a team of highly talented and qualified developers and project managers. Honing their skills and building their reputations as time goes on becomes a key part of their longevity and viability. Stealing client ideas certainly does not lend itself well to building long term client relationships. And frankly, the commitments of time, energy, and money required to make an App successful can be a strain on any company, especially when their focus and primary skill sets lie in other areas.
It doesn’t make business sense for a seasoned developer to diversify into the unknown, where entrepreneurial and marketing skills are so critical. It just isn’t worth the risk when they already have a successful career with a high salary.
You Still Need a Non Disclosure Agreement
Nevertheless, I absolutely advise you to get an NDA in place before sharing the confidential parts of your ideas with anyone. Our software development company takes all the NDAs we have in place very seriously. Check with your attorney to ensure the agreement that you use thoroughly protects your intellectual property from unintended uses.
A final notation, getting an NDA in place only protects you to the extent you are willing to pursue it in a court of law. In the remote change that someone does steal your idea, you will need to file a lawsuit. Unfortunately, a lawsuit is usually a lengthy and time consuming process that is expensive (and emotionally draining) to pursue. You might not recover anything, even if you are in the right (perhaps they have no money for you to collect or they go out of business).
Please bear in mind this information is based on my individual perspective as an owner of a software development company that has executed hundreds of contracts over the years. I am not an attorney and this should not be construed as legal advice.