Well if you have a patent then you are ahead of the game, there are also non-disclosure forms you can use, although I don't know how effective they are.....
The best way is to use a NDA for the inital presentation, if there interested in the idea it covers you and them.
With idea's it's always hard, because there is no proof that they didnt steal yours, with something in writing you may have a better chance, this is a great question...
I had considered an NDA - however, doesnt that simply disaude them from sharing with others what Ive shared with them? Does that give me any protection against them using my idea?.
Yes an NDA does stop them disclosing with 3rd parties but if your relationship goes sour with them before you go live if an NDA is not signed then they have nothing stopping them publicising any information they want...
Think of your system as a proprietary product...like software; users must agree to your terms of service for use.
If nothing else, check into other service companies to see how they protect themselves (Dale Carnegie, Sylvan Learning Centers, etc.)...
I don't see why you couldn't put in stipulations about using OR sharing the information.....
Yes, but I suppose for clarification - my concept does not exist as of yet. Its something I want to present to them as a joint project...
I believe ideas can be copyright... One thing you could do as well as the above, is to thoroughly write down your idea on paper, and mail it to yourself via snail mail. and do not open the letter until/unless you get in a situation where your idea is stolen.
Then you have proof of date of the ideas/concepts and intention to use them...
Unfortunately companies generally do not accept "idea" submissions.
They could really be working on something similar in their R&D Dept..
And you would believe your "idea" was stolen.
Ideas cannot be legally protected.
If you tell someone your idea, they could take it and you'd have no legal recourse.
An idea has to be embodied in the form of an invention.
Then you can protect it by patent application.
Then you can submit it to a company.
You don't need a prototype but you do need to be able to explain how to make and use your invention so someone reading your explanation can reproduce your invention.
I just found this on Google. It's good reading.
"Moving from Idea to Patent" http://www.ipwatchdog.com/inventing/idea-patent/.
If I understand the op, I don't think a patent is the correct method in this case, as it is a business plan in essence...
Actually, I believe it is Patent-able. I will be discussing it with an IP Lawyer in the coming days...
Recently I found myself in a similar situation and knew if I didn't prepare myself for battle beforehand I'd be turning my idea into a piece of bloody chum and tossing it to the sharks.
I recommend reading The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki: http://www.amazon.com/Art-Start-Time...8688255&sr=8-1.
Some Cliff notes from the book:.
- Patents do not necessarily make a business defensible. They might provide a temporary competitive advantage - particularly in material science, medical devices, and biotech companies, but that's about it.
File patents if you can, but don't depend on them unless you have the time (years) and money (millions) to go to court. If Apple & the US Dept of Justice can't beat Microsoft in court, chances are you can't either.
- Just to hear an idea, few investors will sign an NDA and even if they did, simply hearing your idea had better not make it copyable. Investors are looking for people who can implement ideas, not simply come up with them. Ideas are easy, implementation is hard - and where the money is.
- Circulate your executive summary and PowerPoint pitch to entice investors to go to the next step, but keep the magic sauce close to your chest.
- If the investor/partner is interested and wants to know more at the bits-and-bytes level, ask for an NDA.
- Once patents are filed, you should feel pretty safe in discussing your magic sauce under an NDA.
Hopefully this info helps and best of luck to you as I'm sure your idea is a great one!..