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    Preventing a new business idea from being stolen...?


    Alright.. so here's the deal.

    About 10 years ago, I partnered up with a wholesaler to sell in the neighborhood of 3000 different products. About 4 years ago, I came up with an idea for a type of ecommerce site to sell these products, but lack the programming knowledge to do so. The idea I came up with is a unique idea and believe it could be a very lucrative business once it has been coded.

    Now my problem is that about 2 months ago, I met a programmer through a long time friend of mine and he seemed to be like a good person... (and still may be)... I went over the majority of the details of this project with him and he supposedly started working on some of it, but then I could never get a hold of him. My friend said he had a lot of personal things going on, blah blah blah.... but my concern now is that he may take this idea and do it on his own... even though my friend said he wouldn't do that. I did have him sign an NDA which states that anything he creates, belongs to me... that he won't steal any ideas, inventions, etc...

    But I'm trying to see what I can do to ensure that this idea is protected somehow. As I mentioned earlier, I know this is a unique idea, so it's easily a good money maker once created and advertised properly.

    Any advice on this would be appreciated... Thanks in advance.
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    Grumpier old Moderator
    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    If it's that important and likely to be worth a lot, visit a good lawyer who specializes in IP.

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    • hiker agrees : Thanks.
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    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    If you want a patent you really should consult a patent attorney as Doug points out.

    Copyrights are as easy as filling out a form and sending off a couple copies of your work with a check.

    Patents are a different beast.

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    • hiker agrees : Thanks.
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    Yeah.. I've been considering speaking to an attorney, but wanted to first verify that internet ideas can be patented or whatnot... Wasn't sure how all that worked.

    Thanks...
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    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    Yes they most certainly can. See all the search engines suing each other or the whole fuss over Amazon's one click, etc, etc. Not only are there lots of patents but plenty of people trying to cash in on them by suing the big players.
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    Originally Posted by medialint
    Yes they most certainly can. See all the search engines suing each other or the whole fuss over Amazon's one click, etc, etc. Not only are there lots of patents but plenty of people trying to cash in on them by suing the big players.
    Ah... Cool. Thanks. Guess I need to make an appointment with a lawyer...
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  13. Devshed Beginner (1000 - 1499 posts)

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    Unfortunately, unless there's documentation that suggests your ownership of the idea, it may be difficult to prove it's yours. You should always document your ideas. And you should always, ALWAYS have a consulting contract in place before sharing your ideas with prospective developers. The presence of a signed non-compete, non-disclosure, or confidentiality agreement between you and a second party is generally sufficient for proving intellectual ownership in court if necessary.

    Be sure the agreement clearly declares you as the "disclosing party".
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    Originally Posted by Nilpo
    Unfortunately, unless there's documentation that suggests your ownership of the idea, it may be difficult to prove it's yours. You should always document your ideas. And you should always, ALWAYS have a consulting contract in place before sharing your ideas with prospective developers. The presence of a signed non-compete, non-disclosure, or confidentiality agreement between you and a second party is generally sufficient for proving intellectual ownership in court if necessary.

    Be sure the agreement clearly declares you as the "disclosing party".
    I did have the programmer sign an NDA. Although I do have documentation, none of it would be legally standing as far as when I created the model for this business.

    Guess I'll just have to hope this guy doesn't take the idea and run, even though I am trying to talk to a lawyer regarding the idea.

    Thanks.
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  17. Devshed Beginner (1000 - 1499 posts)

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    Originally Posted by hiker
    I did have the programmer sign an NDA. Although I do have documentation, none of it would be legally standing as far as when I created the model for this business.

    Guess I'll just have to hope this guy doesn't take the idea and run, even though I am trying to talk to a lawyer regarding the idea.

    Thanks.
    If the NDA describes the idea in part, it doesn't matter when you conceived it.
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    Devshed Loyal (3000 - 3499 posts)

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    Couldnt you just install ZenCart instead of having a programmer? It does EVERYTHING for you...all you would have to do is customize the look and feel...
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    Thanks...

    The features to be incorporated into this site are so unique, that I have yet to find a ready made solution for all of my needs.

    I wish it were so easy though... This business idea has already been on hold for several years...

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