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how to protect my idea

bytenrambytenram subscriber Posts: 9
edited December 2016 in Protecting Your Ideas
While I am looking for investors to raise capital I am leery about giving to many details about my business plan. 
I mean there are key elements that I want to keep secret as I don`t want someone to not give me the funding but rather start the business them selves.
Is there a way I can tell my idea, share my business plan and protect myself?
I mean like even sharing the information with people on here. Is there a way I can be protected?


  • CookieMonsterCookieMonster subscriber Posts: 0
    Unfortunately you`re pretty much out of luck. While you may have some protection against outright theft of your business plan, ideas have very limited legal protection. This is a very common worry among entrepreneurs and it`s an insecurity you definitely need to get past. To what lengths are you willing to go to protect your idea? Are you willing to go as far as keeping it from the market?
  • GrillCharmerGrillCharmer subscriber Posts: 7
    So very very true CookieMonster!  You could keep your business idea SAFE and take it to your grave or put yourself out there with people you feel you can trust, take some precautions if possible ( would a patent, trademark or copyright help with your product/service or business) and see what happens.  Most people don`t steal an unproven product or service.  They wait until there is a track record of success before copycatting  It is very scary, and your feelings are valid.  I felt the same way, but I just couldn`t sit back and do nothing out of the fear that my idea was so fabulous that someone else would want to steal it!  Very best of luck and keep us posted.
  • digitaltechnocratdigitaltechnocrat subscriber Posts: 0
    All businesses are a RISK and it is this risk that one has to manage. While patents provide sufficient protection for "certain" kinds of ideas, certain others are not covered by patents. While Trademarks and Logos provide protection against a specific name of a product or a service, they generally do NOT cover ideas.
    Some of the points to keep in mind are.
    1. Get to the market first. (This is the ONLY way to stay ahead. If your idea is successful, you can be pretty sure it will be copied sooner or later and unless you hold a patent, the legal costs and ramifications would be towering if a LARGE company or corporation decided to copy your idea. ) Getting to the market first gives you the early bird advantage.
    2. Make sure you provide quality products / services. Thats the only way to maintain that early bird advantage. If it is a new product that you are dealing with, make sure you innovate. That way you will still lead the pack.
    3. If you market your idea early, you can make that initial money which will provide you the leverage to fight a legal battle if necessary.
    4. People are the key. You will have to find the right person. While it is impossible to predict that your idea would NOT be stolen, thats the risk you have to take. Heck even banks want to know your business plans if you want a bank loan. Someone here would be in a better position then me to explain the bank loan structure but in my opinion it is difficult to get a loan from the banks but once you get them, the risk of getting your business idea "stolen" is a lot less.
    5. What you could do is provide information in parts. Break up your entire business idea into segments. Keep the core to yourself and just divulge enough to get an "investor" interested.
    Then it will depend entirely on your convincing capabilities. Hope this  rant helps
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark subscriber Posts: 103
    ask about filing a patent application
  • legallinklegallink subscriber Posts: 0
    There are definitely ways to protect your business ideas in discussions.  The most commonly used is a Non-disclosure agreement.  You can`t protect it forever, but you can protect it from those people you are meeting with.  If this wasn`t available, collaboration would never happen.
    Get a good NDA that deals specifically with your issues and discuss with people you think are interested in working with your idea.
  • jasonburtonjasonburton subscriber Posts: 0 Member
    Attend to some corporate and business management seminars and other marketing solutions including public speaking events ust like http://eatmywords.com/services/speaking/ so you can hav emore idea.
  • Luca ChristelLuca Christel subscriber Posts: 1
    When we started our business we used a dummy website and name to not reveal our real identity and call attention to competitors. But i really wouldn't do so again. It took a lot of time to shift back to the actual brand and all the gained reputation in the web was gone. Guess it's all about beeing brave talking about revolutional ideas but do not reveal to much. Good Luck! ;)
    Managing Director at Apoly GmbH https://www.apoly.de/
  • Charlie PCharlie P subscriber Posts: 84 Silver Level Member
    For those that have used the NDA method of trying to protect your ideas, how has your experience been? How have people reacted when you asked them to sign it? How specific do they need to be? I've got an idea that I'm still fleshing out, but I'm not comfortable talking about it to people right now due to fear of it being stole. I've done some market research kind of questions to see if the pain is real, but simply thanked them for their answers without going into any detail about what I was planning.
  • KatherineKKatherineK subscriber Posts: 4 Member
    Investors see countless ideas all day long. They invest in less than 1% of the people who pitch them. So, if you go based on that, they think that at least 99% of the ideas they hear might be OK but not worth giving their money (let alone their time, which is far more valuable to an investor) to.

    If the only value is in the idea and not the execution then you really don't have much of value. And it's entirely in the execution anyway. Who is in a better position to execute: you, who has the idea or an investor who doesn't have the same passion to see it through? Investors also know, more than anyone, that to properly build something of value will take, on average, 7 years (2-10 is a typical range). Think about how high the opportunity cost is?

    I could understand if they've already invested in a competitor and you're weary about them wasting your time by trying to learn a few tactical things. But what you'll find is that it's extremely hard to get money from an investor at all. Them wanting to steal oyur idea is pretty much unheard of.

    My only other note is that great ideas are abundant but people who can execute on them are, empirically, very rare. Google was late to search, Tesla isn't the first electric car company, Twitter had 37 competitors at one point and Uber was late to ride sharing (Sidecar started before them and got bought for a tiny amount of Uber's current valuation). If you think about why those companies succeeded you'll realize that good ideas had nothing to do with it.
  • BenwBenw subscriber Posts: 12
    bytenram wrote:
    While I am looking for investors to raise capital I am leery about giving to many details about my business plan. 
    I mean there are key elements that I want to keep secret as I don`t want someone to not give me the funding but rather start the business them selves.
    Is there a way I can tell my idea, share my business plan and protect myself?
    I mean like even sharing the information with people on here. Is there a way I can be protected?
    IMO the only way to protect ideas is solid execution :)

    Ideas / Execution are the yin/yang of the business world. You can't have one without the other, but on their own they are worthless.

    I would just share your idea as far and wide as you can, and start doing and building. Even if someone takes your root idea they are going to always take it a different direction then you too.
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  • nganhangnganhang subscriber Posts: 20
    hello.. i am new here.. but i find something good in this thread.. thank you very much for advice here.. sure i ve learned alot . :))
  • bryandanielbryandaniel subscriber Posts: 4 Member
    Thank a lot for sharing :D
  • Raza-AssociatesRaza-Associates subscriber Posts: 9 Member
    Well if your idea is unique and you dont feel to share with anyone, Before telling people about your idea, make small investment by yourself start small setup of business, get your trademark secure and get your work copyright, Then you can share your ideas with investors to expand your business.
  • Gregory101Gregory101 subscriber Posts: 51 Bronze Level Member

    There is only one way to protect your idea, and that’s with a patent. The best thing to do is get a patent attorney and file a patent based on their advice. Before doing so, make sure that no one has already filed an applicator or has been issued a patent for the same idea. You also want to make sure your idea is patentable before paying the fees.

    A patent doesn’t protect you 100%

    A good patent can be a valuable asset, and I do believe it’s a good idea to get one if you can. Yet it’s worth noting that a patent doesn’t prohibit someone from stealing your idea and building a business out of it. You must enforce a patent for it to be valuable, and it’s extremely expensive and time consuming to do so.

    Therefore, the best course of action is to file a patent, and then get moving on executing your idea. This is what we did, and it worked out very well for us. We have market traction, and 63 issued patents we can use at our discretion.

  • dwk061000dwk061000 subscriber Posts: 11 Bronze Level Member
    You can always start by getting a conditional patent for cheap(er) from the USPTO office. But like Gregory said, patents don't protect you 100%. A lot of times it's more costly and time consuming to try and enforce your patent than what it's worth.
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