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iOS Question Guideline 5.2.1 - Legal - Intellectual Property - Headache, please help!

Discussion in 'iOS Questions' started by Chris83, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. Chris83

    Chris83 New Member

    Hi everyone,

    I found this forum while researching an issue I'm experiencing and I found a thread similar to mine with responses by @BillMeyer which were particularly helpful.

    I have spent the past few years conceiving of an app and developing it using Xamarin with the help of a developer. It's a medical app that helps patients follow instructions after surgery. I had no problems publishing the app on Google's Play store, but with Apple I get this:

    Guideline 5.2.1 - Legal - Intellectual Property

    The seller and company names associated with your app do not reflect the name "x clinic" in the app or its metadata, as required by Guideline 5.2.1 of the App Store Review Guidelines.

    Next Steps

    Your app must be published under a seller name and company name that reflects the "x clinic" name. If you have developed this app on behalf of a client, please advise your client to add you to the development team of their Apple Developer account. If your client does not yet have an Apple Developer account, they can enroll in the Apple Developer Program through the Apple Developer website.

    I am now a little stuck what to do. The idea of my business is (was?) to have one app which patients use. Apple are asking me to get the clinic to create a developer account and publish it there. However, it's something of a "white label" branded app, with the clinics having the options to customise the instructions and clinic information (such as address etc.) to their own requirements using their unique own admin panel. The app branding and layout consistency makes me wonder if I'd then fall foul of each app for each clinic not being substantially different enough (i.e. spam). This is really not the case because each clinic is different and has different guidelines, all of which are customisable within the admin panel we built.

    Anyone any ideas how they'd proceed? I'll be checking back eaglerly for your thoughts!
     
  2. BillMeyer

    BillMeyer Active Member Licensed User

    @Chris83

    Hi There,

    I see you have the same situation I was in (apart from Xamarin - Eish!!).

    If you look at this problem from Apples point of view. As they see it, I believe, is that if 1 developer joins Apple for $99 US and then proceeds to develop a white label for a specific purpose and publishes them one by one on the store, all under his account, Apple have received $99 US only from developer, and not from each published app or entity - definitely not a money making process. Secondly, each business (if you publish in the states) needs a D.U.N.S. number (this I understand has got to do with tax, money laundering, copyright, trademarks etc) and this is probably difficult to administer and follow if all is hidden within another account.

    Consider a scenario:
    If each developer published five "business" apps under his own account in stead of paying the $99 US each, and with 20 million developers on the Apple Store, you are cutting Apples revenue from publishing apps to 20% of its intended income !!

    Now you mention spam - again if you have several clients and publish apps that look nearly the same and you do that reasonably one upon another, your are bound at some stage to get a reviewer who remembers your apps, looks up what happened in the past and then accuse you of spamming.

    My recommendations:

    Firstly, seriously consider looking at the B4X Suite of development languages - just so much quicker and easier than Xamarin. (No, I am not affiliated, related or do marketing for @Erel :D)

    Secondly, when marketing to your clients, as a matter of T's and C's almost, discuss with them the requirements from Apple and state that there is nothing you can do about it, the S99 US must be paid and annually there after.

    Thirdly, and probably the most important point, is to attempt to build up a relationship with the reviewer by adding reviewers notes to every App that you publish, explaining the business principle you employ and in semi-detail how your app works. I have done this and it seems to work (I get less returns) as the reviewer now knows not to raise the flags as your are aware of the policies but that you need to work in a certain manner pertaining to your design.

    Lastly, and probably the most painful now and least painful later, is to re-design your app so that the user registers firstly and then selects a favourite clinic after which your code then applies the "subtle differences" itself. In this way you have control over a backend database that registers each clinic and keeps its set of unique designs to apply and also who has registered where and this then you use as a value add to send reports back to your clients as to the status of their app pertaining to registrations, uses etc. and by so doing - keep them engaged and hungry for more.

    I trust that this will go some way in alleviating your pain.

    and as @Peter Simpson says:

    Enjoy !!!
     
    f0raster0 and Chris83 like this.
  3. Chris83

    Chris83 New Member

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for the suggestions! What a nightmare.

    "Lastly, and probably the most painful now and least painful later, is to re-design your app so that the user registers firstly and then selects a favourite clinic after which your code then applies the "subtle differences" itself. In this way you have control over a backend database that registers each clinic and keeps its set of unique designs to apply and also who has registered where and this then you use as a value add to send reports back to your clients as to the status of their app pertaining to registrations, uses etc. and by so doing - keep them engaged and hungry for more."
    Actually, we already have multi clinic functionality, whereby we register the user and when they log in, our database knows his/her clinic and pulls the appropriate information to their app. Could that be a solution?

    Another option I was thinking is to keep the characteristics of the app but make the apps sufficiently different for each clinic, such that it's not seen as spam. It's a lot more work but I am a stubborn b@stard :D
     
  4. BillMeyer

    BillMeyer Active Member Licensed User

    @Chris83

    Hi There Boet,

    Absolutely, this would probably resolve all your issues with Apple as well. Try looking at Firebase's Remote Config Feature (Link to Docs) - I have never used it - but it looks promising for your situation where your database handles the information and Firebase the look and feel.

    The problem with this is that, for instance, you have 30 clients, and you make one functional update - that then extrapolates to 30 times the work and keeping track of all that and each ones account details etc..... Nightmarish !!
     
    Chris83 likes this.
  5. Chris83

    Chris83 New Member

    That looks like a useful tool, thanks @BillMeyer!

    Last night I found a very similar app to mine, also in the medical sector. They use the "picker" system, whereby the user picks the clinic and the app loads the clinic instructions. As mentioned, mine works by the user logging in with email and password, then the system identifies the appropriate clinic and loads the instructions automatically. In my view this is two ways of achieving the same thing, so it shouldn't make any difference.

    I think Apple might have misunderstood this aspect of my app design, because it basically conforms to their rules perfectly, without me even realising this was a rule when we developed it. It doesn't make any sense to force me to create a different app for every clinic, just to then come up against the "spam" rule which leads to yet more problems. In your experience, if I explain all of this to Apple, are they liked to cooperate, or is it quite difficult?

    I'm wondering also if my app might have been flagged because I tried to publish the account as an "individual" with my own name, rather than an organisation with a registered company with a DUNS number. Do you think if I set up a new account as an organisation that might work? And then if no luck the first time, go to resolution and explain everything as I have here?

    I'm really stressed about this situation because it completely prevents me from doing business unless I find a solution (after 4 years of hard work!), so I really appreciate your insights!
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  6. BillMeyer

    BillMeyer Active Member Licensed User

    @Chris83,

    Speak to Apple. They will be willing to convert your account to a business account provided you then comply to their requirements (DUNS etc) and then the best is to appeal to them for advice. If you get the right reviewer (almost on a case worker type of situation - and then you have an email of a personal contact also), you usually get good advice and they do want to help as far as their policies allow them to help.

    To give you a stupid example, if you use HTTPS instead of HTTP - you need to declare this to the USA government (if you publish to the American store - rest of world - no problem) and explain why you are encrypting your transactions - paranoid I think - but Apple are a US company and need to comply and thus enforce their customers/clients to comply also.

    I understand your frustration with the 4 years frustration bit - I've also been there - it sometimes feels as though you are throwing your baby in the dustbin because you require a blue nappy and the supermarket says only orange or else.....

    In my opinion (and from past experience) your ideas and principles are sound - all you need to do it makes Apple your friend, acknowledge their "perceived superiority" and then you get a foot to stand on by saying - "but you guys told me to do it this way...."

    When you email Apple, use words like you want this product to exceed the normal Apple quality requirements and want it to be a success as Apple is a success and then you ask "How would you tackle and resolve the problem ?" - Almost always works !!

    Good Luck - always here to help (PM also if you like)

    Bill
     
    Chris83 likes this.
  7. Chris83

    Chris83 New Member

    Thanks and sure, I'd like to PM but either I don't have the permissions or can't see them :confused: Can you try to pm me please?
     
  8. Sasuke Sama

    Sasuke Sama Active Member Licensed User

    The hardest part and the most annoying one in developing for ios is the publishing process
    I dropped countless projects duo to apple not likingy app or asking for a nonsense stuff
    Developers really needs to gather up against them one day
    At least put and option to sideload ipa or make the app store more open
     
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