Businesses are often created when someone comes up with an idea and puts that idea into practical use by taking varying forms of risk. An Ideapreneur is a group of entrepreneurs who comes up with a brilliant idea and disrupts the market in a way that hasn’t been done before. Think, Uber, Airbnb, WeWork etc.
Ideas or concepts cannot be protected. Once an idea or concept is formed, it needs to be memorialized in some tangible form to get protection. You could verbally communicate your brilliant idea to your friend and that friend may very well run with the idea and start his/her own business using your idea. Now you’ve not only lost your business, but also a dear friend. Having them sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement could have helped you pursue an action against your friend (that’s a discussion for another day). But another thing that can help is having a copyright registration.
Let’s say you are a business coach and you have a unique formula or methodology that you use to coach your clients. That formula or methodology can either be protected by patent rights or through copyrights. But in order to obtain such protection, it must be in some tangible form.
As a coach, you may create workbooks, instruction manuals, videos and other multimedia material that covers your methodology. All of those materials can be copyrighted. Once you have a copyright registration, you have the ability to sue a third party that stole your work.
I’ve previously said that once you create something, it automatically gets copyright protection. Here’s what you can get when you register your work as a copyright:
An official public record of creation and ownership of your work.
The right to sue someone who stole your work.
Recover attorneys’ fees in a lawsuit.
The right to license your work and capitalize on your work.
Similarly, your novel formula may be eligible for patent protection. But that is a long, time consuming and expensive process.
The next time your flash of genius strikes and you are hit with an idea, be sure to write it down or record it in some form and get that copyright registration. You may be the next Uber or Airbnb in your industry and you don’t want to lose your business even before you start!
At Nupur Shah Law, we help entrepreneurs and ideapreneurs protect their ideas, concepts, methodology, processes, formulae and brands. Call us at 646-820- 1366 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to have a complimentary conversation with you on how to secure and/or defend your rights.