Patents for entrepreneurial ideas

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| September 19, 2007


You asked your legal, copyright and trademark questions, and Jean has answered! All questions are taken from comments posted on the original ‘Ask Jean’ post. We invite you to ask more questions.

Hello Jean,

I am a certified HTML CSS Developer, and own and operate a registered company. I have an entrepreneurial idea. The problem is this, when I publish the idea as a completed idea, it would be very easy to reproduce. Is there any way to prevent or make unlawful the activity of duplication of my concept? It is, I am quite certain a situation of information ownership, but might I be able to get a patent for a constructed product that would limit (or reduce completely) the copying of it by others as well?


Paul–Unfortunately, ideas and concepts presented to the public are very difficult to protect unless they are in a form in which the law will allow you to protect it. If the product is of a type that is patentable, a patent will protect it for 17 years. If it is in copyrightable form–fixed in a tangible medium, like software or music, you can protect it by copyright. To determine if something is patentable, consult a patent attorney who will most likely run a patent search to determine patentability. To determine whether your idea can be protected by copyright in some way — consult an intellectual property attorney. There are often ways to do it, but without knowing what it is, it’s impossible to advise you.


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