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How do I legally protect a business idea?

I had an idea for a business and I would like to keep from being copied.

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3 Responses to “How do I legally protect a business idea?”

  1. Ichi said :

    There are a number of things you can do.

    Post the idea to yourself to start with. Ie write it down and post it to your self. In England this effectively means you have copywritten the idea.

    You can apply for patents, but this is a very long winded process that you must be very detailed about.

    By setting up a business and a brand around it, you can create a unique marketing position that will also strengthen the idea also..

  2. Gem said :

    Your only real option in the US is to patent it.

    But realize patents cost thousands of dollars, and your patent is only as strong as your pocketbook is large (to pay the lawyers if infringment comes up).

    Even if you patent it, big business can come along and attempt to steal it. The sad thing is that big business has an entire staff of legal geniuses that would bankrupt you if you attempted to fight it.

    So, if it such a great idea, begin the patent process, then approach a company that you think is ethical.

    Welcome to the 21st Century.

  3. doug02346 said :

    Sorry. Ideas aren’t patentable. Products and processes are. If your idea is one of those you can get a preliminary patent from the USPTO for about $200 if you do it your self. It will protect your idea for a year if it’s a product or process.

    If it’s just an idea for a business, protecting it is impossible. However, if you refine the idea to cater to a small nitch that’s your best bet. Big buninesses won’t bother with it. And if it’s refined enough a small business with a nitch can be very profitable. Hey, there are millions of products out there. There’s a market for just about everything. Just look on eBay! Refine it and go for it! Good luck!


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