New Member - How do i protect an idea

joealsojoealso Posts: 1subscriber
edited March 2007 in Protecting Your Ideas
Hi everyone. This is my first post after reading the book.
I have an idea for a large scale, national (potentially international) retail music business with strong online potential as well. I imagine this as being huge, and it would take a huge partner to make it happen.
I would like to develop this idea and research how to pitch it to a major corporation (Apple, for example, would be a perfect partner). There`s no way i can make it happen, but i would like to sell the idea to a company that can put together all the pieces.
My first concern is how to protect my idea. As i understand it, ideas cannot be patented. Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Comments

  • joealsojoealso Posts: 1subscriber
    This idea goes far beyond iTunes. Thanks
  • pepperlegalpepperlegal Posts: 2subscriber
    In addition to a very comprehensive NDA, as well as highly selective recipients of your idea, I always advise disclosing absolutely only what you need to (or "only showing a knee").  Do just enough to pique the interest of the recipient, but not enough for the recipient to be able to run with your idea themselves.   Ideas may be patented, but they are also costly and lengthy to obtain.
  • MarkPMarkP Posts: 0subscriber
    My experience has been that VC`s will NOT sign NDA`s.
    It is very very difficult to pitch and idea and get anywhere. Investors invest in businesses and big companies buy smaller companies. These are simply the facts of the real world.
    Very rarely (almost never) does anyone buy or invest in an idea.
    With few exceptions success in business (and value creation) is more about execution and customer base as it is about the original idea.MarkP2007-2-21 20:52:39
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark Posts: 104subscriber
    some ideas can be patented.
  • stevesteve Posts: 14subscriber
    spending all your time in market research with your
    customers may get you nowhere. How can they possibly tell you they want
    something that doesn`t exist yet?
    Reminds me of something Henry Ford said.
    If I had asked my customers what they wanted,
    they would have said "a faster horse that eats less."
  • txbassguytxbassguy Posts: 0subscriber
    very profound quote from Henry Ford I agree. What most people fail to do is market research and truly find out if there is a market for their product or service. At times this makes me want to start up an invention service and help people get there product to market, or at least to the concept stage. but i feel most inventors will shy away at the true price to hire industrial designer, cad engineers, electrical engineers to bring a prototype to a concept stage. i`ve done it once before for a product some friends and myself got off the ground.
  • Innovator7Innovator7 Posts: 9subscriber
    A good idea is just a faint beginning.  There`re so many things to do to turn an idea into a product or service.  Marketing, its execution and finances are very important.Gee, oftentime the best way to protect an idea is to put it in a locked box
  • stevesteve Posts: 14subscriber
    Another thought pertaining to automobiles. Back in the early 1900`s
    there were thousands of car companies in the US. Only a few survived
    and even those that exist today are questionable. This points out the
    importance of execution. It really doesn`t matter if a thousand other
    people have the same idea. The winner will be the one who executes the
    best. By the way, that does not necessarily mean the one with the
    superior product.
  • ImagingBuffetImagingBuffet Posts: 0subscriber
    spending all your time in market research with your
    customers may get you nowhere. How can they possibly tell you they want
    something that doesn`t exist yet?
    Reminds me of something Henry Ford said.
    If I had asked my customers what they wanted,
    they would have said "a faster horse that eats less."

    Great Quote Steve! I remember Warren Buffet answering a question a similar way during a TV appearance. When asked by a university student who he turns to for advice, he said "the mirror."All the best,Andrew Darlow
  • stevesteve Posts: 14subscriber
    Back when I was programming (seems so long ago and far away now) I
    would tell junior team members to "tackle the unknowns first." Any
    major project contained parts that they knew how to do and parts they
    didn`t; the knowns and the unknowns. There`s no point in spending any
    time doing what we already know works if one of the unknowns could
    prove to be a show stopper.

    The same could be said in business. It`s tempting to spend time,
    "making progress", doing things like developing the perfect website.
    But what about identifying and eliminating inefficiencies in your
    system. Inefficiencies that would prevent you from satisfying demand
    for your product should it catch on. Even that is a waste of time if
    you haven`t yet proven the concept. Will the product actually sell?
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark Posts: 104subscriber
    I read that quote to mean that you are better off gambling that having success with an invention marketing company - and I agree.  I do not agree that you are better off gambling that having success with a well written patent for a product in demand.
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark Posts: 104subscriber
    Those who can, do.  Inventing and marketing are two sets of skills, though.
  • stevesteve Posts: 14subscriber
    Very true James, very true. That`s where pulling together a team with
    strengths to compensate for your weaknesses becomes so important.

    Sadly it seems that many people exhaust their funds perfecting the
    invention. Then they have nothing left to bring it to market. 
  • Innovator7Innovator7 Posts: 9subscriber
    There`re big ideas and then there`re smaller ones.  It is important to assess the size of the market before patenting an invention.  Wise inventors address huge problems.The current patent system allows an inventor at least a year to test out the market viability of his invention by using PPA.  If he couldn`t market his gizmo during that period, he may as well not file PA to keep it a secret, taking the chance that another inventor may come up with same invention and apply for a patent.There`s no simple answer about invention and invention-based business, but like Jesus said, know the cost of the project before doing it.The art of patent drafting is learnable.  Most patent examiners are engineers and attorneys.  As an inventor and a decent pro se patent  drafter, I have a huge advantage of speed, quality, and cost.  Yet I`m very selective in what I apply for patent. i.e. only what I`m gonna commercialize.  I have considered becoming a patent agent but opted for hi-tech business.  It`s selling one`s time vs selling products worldwide.
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