We are proud to announce our NEW community destination. Engage with resident experts and fellow entrepreneurs, and learn everything you need to start your business. Check out the new home of StartupNation Community at startupnation.mn.co

I have an idea.. Do I need a patent?

LaurParLaurPar subscriber Posts: 1
edited October 2016 in Protecting Your Ideas
Sorry for the noob-ness, but I have an idea for a website but I have no idea where to go next! I`ve been on this site for awhile and it`s all just so overwhelming!
I`m wondering if I need to get a patent for my idea/website, or if I can just.. make it.The patent process seems extensive and expensive and I`m not even sure if I should try and tackle the beast.So I`ve got an idea and I`m ready to build the website.. but what`s next?


  • LaurParLaurPar subscriber Posts: 1
    Thank you, really!
    I`ll be sure to post more as this develops!
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark subscriber Posts: 103
    creative expressions are dealt with via copyright law.  i suggest you speak with your attorney before disclosing the idea.
  • gsamadgsamad subscriber Posts: 2 Member
    First of all, I`m sorry to say this, but ideas are a dime a dozen.  A successful business is built on a business plan where you prove to yourself that you have a product with a viable market that is large enough for you to make a profit, that you can afford to reach this market with advertising, and that you can beat the competition in some way.  (If you think there is no competition, either you are not looking hard enough, or this is not really a profitable idea.)
    So, if you think you have a viable business plan and enough money to fund it - say at least $10,000 to $50,000 for an Internet only business, then it`s time to think about implementation and intellectual property protection.
    Let`s say you have a business plan to manufacture and sell hand tools with fur linings, called FuzzyTools.  If the improvement of adding fur to a screwdriver has never been done before, and if this is a useful improvement (say, it gives you a better grip in the rain), then it is possible for you to obtain a patent on this.  The patent will cost you a minimum of $10,000 and several years wait before it could be issued.  If issued, this would give you the exclusive right to manufacture or license the manufacturing of this type of tool.
    If you created a website called FuzzyTools.com and sell your tools under the name FuzzyTools, then you have a trademark on the FuzzyTools name and others are not legally able to use a substantially similar name for the same type of product.
    The information on your website is copyrighted.  This includes the descriptions of your tools, etc. and others are not legally able to copy your web pages and use them to describe their own fuzzy tools.
    So here`s the bottom line, if the concept and expression of fuzzy tools is a substantial improvement on existing hand tools, and you obtain a patent on this, then for 20 or so years you have a monopoly on manufacturing these types of tools.  If you don`t or can`t obtain a patent, then after seeing your idea anyone else is legally allowed to copy your "idea", but not your copyrights and trademarks.
    So, even if you don`t obtain a patent, if you are able to build a lot of name recognition for FuzzyTools, then although your competitors would be able to sell fur handled screwdrivers, they would not be able to call them FuzzyToolsToo, but must use a different trademark such as Furbys (we`ll, that one may be taken!
    It is still possible for you to be the biggest, most profitable manufacturer of fur handled tools without actually having a patent on the idea.
    For most of us, the expense and time to obtain a patent is not worth it, even if it really *is* a new idea, which usually it is not.  A better bet is to analyze your competition, look at your working capital that you have for advertising, and write a business plan.  If you have a plan that is better than your competition`s, then go for it.
    My company is a perfect example of this.  It is ContinuingEdCourses.Net, an online publisher of continuing education courses for mental health professionals.  I wasn`t the first with this idea, but built a business that is significantly better than the competition`s in several ways (higher quality authors and courses, free viewing of all of our course material before payment is required, etc.), and with an advertising budget that is significantly higher than most of the competition`s as well.  It is highly profitable simply because it is better run than the competition, not because it is a unique idea.
    Whew, long winded, sorry.  I hope this helps a little.
      Gary Samad
      ContinuingEdCourses.Net, Inc.gsamad12/10/2008 6:56 PM
  • jasonburtonjasonburton subscriber Posts: 0 Member
    Just simple as this site http://caldwells.com/door-shop about door store, they holds patented business name, taglines and brand names.
  • jasonburtonjasonburton subscriber Posts: 0 Member
    Everything you own specially if that idea is unique, that must be registered and patented, so no one will use your idea without your authorization. See Alexandra Watkins, she is expert in branding and trademarking, you can also read related books at http://awesomebook.eatmywords.com/
  • DarissaDarissa subscriber Posts: 23
    I think that you can easily start you own online shop or a small souvenir boutique. My friends in Australia took out a patent for their family recipe and started a small snack bar. There was this legal firm http://studiolegal.com.au that helped them do it. I like their approach to work; they seem to have specialists for every field of law. For example, they’ve helped my friends to patent the recipe and register a trade mark. I think that if your approach is serious enough, you can earn good money on your hobbies.
  • Raza-AssociatesRaza-Associates subscriber Posts: 9 Member
    Well if you believe your idea is gonna make a success story and if you are afraid that other will start to copy your business instantly then it is compulsory to register your trademark and copyright from relevant department.
  • ChiedoChiedo subscriber Posts: 13 Bronze Level Member
    It's extremely hard to patent software ideas unless you created some new groundbreaking algorithm that is clearly distinct. Move forward and once you you've made your first $10,000  (arbitrary number), speak with an attorney about copyright and trademark legal mumbo jumbo.
    HAVE A KILLER APP IDEA? We help entrepreneurs build their app ideas and websites. LEARN MORE.
Sign In or Register to comment.