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  • business help – protecting ideas
  • corroded
    Free Member

    If I had a business idea that required partnership with another company to get off the ground, is there any way I can protect my intellectual property?
    It’s not an invention that can be patented and copyright law might not apply until the idea is at a more developed stage. So is there anything to stop the other party taking my idea and doing it themselves?

    5thElefant
    Free Member

    A non-disclosure agreement is usually adequate.

    joemarshall
    Free Member

    In theory, you can get them to sign NDAs, to say that they won’t tell people and won’t copy your idea, and to make sure that it is clear they have seen your idea.

    If it is a big company you’re talking with though, and you’re a small company / random guy with ideas, in practice it’d be surprising if they’d worry too much about breaking them (and quite a few big companies will refuse to sign your NDA), but at least you have evidence that they saw the idea.

    If by any chance it is software, in my experience of software development, 99% of the work is on the development of an idea, loads of people have ideas that sound neat to them but not the skills to make it, and 99 times out of 100, the idea turns out to be stupid once someone who could build one starts thinking about building it. I’ve quite a few times had people saying “I’ve got a great idea for a program/website/gadget/whatever” that they obviously think is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Inevitably they want to give you a share of the supposed profits, rather than actually pay money for it to be developed.

    Joe

    corroded
    Free Member

    Thanks, good advice. Had thought about a NDA but felt that it might be a bit too heavy for my needs. joemarshall is almost on the right track (though I have a programmer onboard and the idea is more about using existing technology in a new way). I just wanted to feel less paranoid about casual networking conversations and pitches when the idea is simple enough for the other interested party to do. Though whether it’s profitable enough for them to bother is another matter…

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