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Author Topic: New Business Concept, Protection  (Read 910 times)


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New Business Concept, Protection
« on: 01-05-17 at 10:23 am »

Can someone please point me in the right direction. I have a business idea that I want to get started on right away. I will need to involve other people who specialize in different aspects of the concept. My concern is that people I talk to about this might steal my idea. What steps can I take to protect my idea?
Being an idea, can I copyright it? Patent It?
Many Thanks!

Robert K S

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Re: New Business Concept, Protection
« Reply #1 on: 01-05-17 at 11:18 am »

You can't copyright or patent ideas.  Copyrights protect original works of authorship fixed in tangible media of expression, such as literary, musical, dramatic, pantomime, choreographic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, motion-picture, audiovisual, or architectural works, or sound recordings.  17 U.S.C. 102.  Patents protect inventions, namely, processes, machines, manufactures, compositions of matter, or any new and useful improvements thereof, so long as they aren't directed to laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas. 35 U.S.C. 101; Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014).  You may be able to patent a business method provided you can define it as a process that is not directed to an abstract idea, or is directed to something significantly more than an ineligible abstract idea.

If you want to disclose your idea to others but don't want them to blab about it, or make use of it for their own profit, you will want to have some sort of contractual arrangement with them in place prior to telling them.  This typically takes the form of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or non-compete agreement.  Because these can be complicated, you will want to consult with an attorney.
« Last Edit: 01-05-17 at 11:22 am by Robert K S »
This post is made in the context of professional discussion of general patent law issues and nothing contained herein may be construed as legal advice.


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Re: New Business Concept, Protection
« Reply #2 on: 01-05-17 at 02:55 pm »

I absolutely agree with Robert that you should use NDAs when discussing your ideas.  If nothing else, it puts the other party on notice that the information is confidential and you intend to protect it.

But honestly, most people starting businesses are far too concerned about protecting their ideas, when in fact that's one of the least important success factors.  A hundred people could have the same idea, and the one that will be successful is the person that does the best job of execution. 

This post is provided for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.

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