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  • #982399
    mediaman
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    Hi everyone,

    After developing a new business idea, talking to potential clients has made me realise the idea is better than first thought and something the clients really do need and are happy to pay for.

    But talking to these clients exposes you to them – or someone like you that they know – simply stealing it from you and doing it themselves, even though it does require a level of specific expertise.

    For example: I offered it to a potential client and after chasing them for a few weeks for an answer, they finally told me they already have a company that handles similar things for them.

    Now this new idea is pretty unique so I would doubt very much this company is already doing it for them…in fact I can bet that I have just given them a great idea to do themselves.

    So, how does one protect their unique and new ideas from being undermined or stolen when approaching new customers?

    Thanks!

    #1136619
    Healthy Personal Finances
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    Good work on the new idea.

    Maybe you need to get a trademark or patent or copyright. Not sure which one you need as not entirely sure if it is a product or service or name that you want to protect (or all 3 !)

    Good luck
    Stacey

    #1136620
    Divert To Mobile
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    Hi Mediaman

    Tough to answer without knowing what it is but it depends on if its trademarkable or patentable. TM and Patent and of course copywright are the only avenues of protection. If youre looking to patent you may have actually spoiled your chances by leaking the information.

    Steve

    #1136621
    PRO
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    Hi

    It depends on exactly what it is.

    A non disclosure agreement can assist greatly, but then it is hard to get potential clients to sign one without scaring them off.

    Best to seek legal advice

    #1136622
    MatthewKeath
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    A good idea is good start, but millions of people have good ideas.

    My very basic understanding is that you need something tangible to protect – you cannot trademark an idea. Which makes perfect sense.

    A non discloser contract can protect your idea from people you tell – but only if you have the means to take it too court. Otherwise it’s just a piece of paper.

    I would create something out of your idea – then you have taken a step that the dreamers never do. Then you can protect it.

    ** I would get legal advise. **

    #1136623
    Kaylo
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    Congratulations on the secret idea! Fully understand why you want to keep it a secret, there are three things that you can do but they come at a cost;

    TM and Copyright they both have to materialised objects or part of text, so forth, can be costly depending what the idea, only if it falls into this area though.

    Non-Disclosure Agreement or Non-circumvention order (same thing) but both are useless in todays world, I know from experience, unless its written specifically for the situation and is cited by both parties solicitors. They would be worth there weight if your a much larger corporation and have money to burn in court cases, and these cases are lost by who loses all there money first in there court proceedings and solicitors costs.

    I would just start doing it, road test it for a couple months and then go at it!

    #1136624
    JacquiPryor
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    Unfortunately, there is no such thing as protection for an ‘idea’ so to speak.

    Patents = devices, substances, methods or processes that are new, inventive and useful. New means they can’t have been disclosed by anyone anywhere; You cannot patent purely mental processes.

    Trademarks = signs that are used to distinguish your products/services from other people’s, such as names, logos, slogans etc

    Copyright = automatic protection for ‘works’ such as literary works, artistic works, dramatic works etc that are original (such as books, poetry, paintings, plays etc)

    There are other areas of ‘protection’, the above is not it – but, wouldn’t necessarily apply in your case (such as design protection for the look/appearance of products; protection for new plant species etc).

    So, if your ‘idea’ is new (in that no-one else has done it before or disclosed it/published it anywhere int he world) then perhaps it could be eligible for patent protection, depending on the resulting nature of that idea; is it useful? Does it solve problems that currently exist that haven’t previously be solved by similar solutions etc? Depending on the nature of your discussions with others, and when they took play there may still be time/possibilities in terms of seeking patent protection. This should be considered as soon as possible if you are serious about protection. Advice from a patent attorney should be sought.

    In the meantime, certainly have other parties sign non-disclosure agreements if you are going to discuss the ‘idea’ with them. This might not be a long term/viable solution but could safe guard you until you find you out where you stand on the patent protection.

    As noted, a trademark protects the name/logo you might ‘brand’ this new service with, so that others cannot use that same or confusingly similar ‘brand’ in the same type of activity as you.

    Also, consider whether ‘trade secrets’ apply. This can be a good strategy of protection where patents and the like are not available or valid. If it is unlikely someone else will come up with the same ‘idea’, or, be able to figure out exactly how you make it work then this could be worth considering.

    Hope this helps. All the best :)

    #1136625
    Jenny Spring
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    A good idea is just that — a good idea.

    It isn’t a business.

    There are heaps of fantastic ideas out in the world.

    If you want to ‘protect’ your idea then create an awesome business, and execute that idea better than anyone else.

    Its the execution that differentiates us. Not so much the ideas.

    Work on building your idea into a simple, brilliant service/product that people will clamber to pay for.

    #1136626
    UTX Training
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    Totally agree with Jenny. Ideas are ten a penny, execution is everything.

    The chances of someone putting serious effort in to stealing and executing your idea are much lower than you never actually getting it up and running due to the million and one ways we find to not get things done.

    #1136627
    al.giffard
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    Hi Mediaman,

    Jenny has captured my thoughts exactly.

    Protecting your idea is a very natural instinct and it certainly shows that you’re keen and passionate about your business, which is fantastic. Generally speaking, the idea has some value, but the execution is where the real value is.

    In fact, in my experience, those who are able to ‘let their guard down’ are often far more successful in implementing their idea than those who are more protective. Talking openly and passionately about your idea and about your business tends to encourage others to help you out and support you. Granted, there may be some who choose to take advantage and implement the idea themselves – but most will choose to support you instead.

    That support can be as simple as giving you suggestions, ideas for improvements or things to watch out for, which will improve your chances of success. But if they can see that it’s a good idea AND that you’re passionate about it, they may also want to become involved, by offering financial support (loan or equity) to expand your business or seeking a business partnership with you.

    It can be very hard in the initial stages of a business with a unique idea, but my advice would be to have faith in the people you deal with and focus instead on growing your business as well as you can. Anyone who tries to rip off your product (and there will definitely be some who try, if your idea is unique) will never be able to compete against a strong, quality business.

    Wishing you all the best with your idea and your business.

    Cheers,

    Al.

    #1136628
    Kennethti
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    JacquiPryor, post: 155705 wrote:
    Unfortunately, there is no such thing as protection for an ‘idea’ so to speak.

    Patents = devices, substances, methods or processes that are new, inventive and useful. New means they can’t have been disclosed by anyone anywhere; You cannot patent purely mental processes.

    Just one more thing about Patents. A patent is essentially a government sanctioned monopoly for you to manufacture, license, or sell the invention or innovation for a set period of time. Depending on what is being patented, this can be 8 years (innovation), 20 years (invention), or 25 years (pharmaceutical invention).

    After this time has expired, your invention no longer protected, and if it’s a particularly good one? Your competitors can examine the patent application to find out how you built it. Did you ever think why is there Panadol and then off-brand paracetamol? That’s right, Panadol’s patent protections ended and this allowed their competitors to make generic brand versions of it.

    Sometimes a good confidentiality policy may be better – it’s been 100 years and nobody knows what’s the recipe for Coca-cola, for instance.

    #1136629
    businesstrader
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    The reality at some point you will need to confide in someone. Then you will need to do some ‘testing’ to see how your idea is received.

    Keep in mind you can always sell your ideas before it takes off or once it is trading at websites like http://www.bizlistings.com.au.

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