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   Author  Topic: Website Idea  (Read 2803 times)
Paul Trier
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Website Idea
« on: May 11th, 2005, 11:10am »
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Hi, I'm an independent contractor at a website, and haven't signed any sort of contract or a non-disclosure/confidentiality/trade-secret document or anythiing at all.  It's a great idea that the guy has, but his site is going to ultimately fail because he's clueless - despite the money and backing he has.    
 
If I went and used the idea and started a similar site, could I get sued?
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JimIvey
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Re: Website Idea
« Reply #1 on: May 23rd, 2005, 7:21pm »
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You can always get sued.  Will the other guy win?  Depends.  It's okay to have a non-disclosure agreement that's oral (spoken, not written).  It's not the best way to go, but the other guy might win.
 
At the very least, you would likely spend money showing up to court with an attorney and having some reasonable legal arguments ready as for why you don't owe the other guy any money.  
 
It sounds like you're in a fairly safe position (except for the oral NDA thingy).  But you're far from worry-free.  If you think you can make good money from the idea, you might be in a position to afford the legal fees to make it happen.  That's purely a business decision, however.
 
Good luck.
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James D. Ivey
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Abigail Thatcher
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Re: Website Idea
« Reply #2 on: Sep 1st, 2005, 9:36am »
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On a similar note a while back a colleague and I talked about a website idea.  We lost touch and I went ahead and developed the fledgling idea.  The website I have targets a slightly different audience than first discussed and also offers different services.
 
My colleague has recently seen the website and claims that I have 'stolen' their idea.  Do they have right to sue meHuh
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Isaac
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Re: Website Idea
« Reply #3 on: Sep 1st, 2005, 10:39am »
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A person has the right to sue if they can allege a claim on which a court might grant relief based on facts and a legal theory that won't get the person or his lawyer sanctioned.  The legal theory might even include a request that the court go against current law and precedent.
 
My point is that the question "can I  be sued" generally is not useful.   A posted set of facts may not suggest a claim, but there is always the possibility that with a few more facts, something that won't draw a "rule 11" sanction by the court in question might present itself.  And of course we don't have the putative plaintiff's view of the facts.
 
More useful questions might be am I likely to lose?  Can I get the law suit quickly dismissed?   How difficult might it be for me to demonstrate that I'm should win?   Is the cost worth the fight?
 
In this case, the facts don't suggest any obligation to keep a secret, and a non patented, non confidential idea is generally free for the public at large to use.   I think most of Mr. Ivey's answer applies to your situation.
« Last Edit: Sep 1st, 2005, 10:45am by Isaac » IP Logged

Isaac
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Re: Website Idea
« Reply #4 on: Aug 27th, 2007, 11:56pm »
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OK, having been the victim of intellectual property and trade secret theft, I just need to raise an issue that has been avoided thus far.  Forgetting for a moment that you may WIN a court battle over the idea and who it belongs to, perhaps you should put yourself in the other person's shoes before you simply make it a court decision.  If it really is NOT just your idea, doesn't the other person actually deserve something for their contribution?  If YOU had a great idea but someone else took it, and treated the concept as if it were completely their own while excluding you and they made a profit, how would you feel about it?
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