10 Tips to Protect Your Business Idea and Website from Theft
It is very easy for people to steal your ideas in the creative market. When something attracts attention, people are pretty much bound to steal it, make it their own and generate profit from it. Here are some steps you can take when someone steals your idea.
(Image Source: Entrepreneur.com)
1. Giving credits
When someone steals your content, they take all the credit for the hard work you put into it. A bad situation gets worse when a high ranking website on search engines steals your content, makes money out of it but you get accused of stealing it instead. For example if you write an article about how mobile payments work then you need to give credits to the sources where you got your material from in order to back your content with context.
2. Find out the host
Figuring out the host of that website will help you file a DMCA.
3. Filing a Digital Millennium Copyright Act or DMCA
After you have figured out the host of that website you can file a DMCA with the owner of the website and the host. It’s very likely that some actions will be taken against the owner of that website.
Unfortunately patents don’t protect ideas. There needs to be an identifiable embodiment of that idea for you to get a patent. So if you have an idea and you have an instinct that you’ve got to run with it then you need to execute it. You need to make one thing clear that most of your ideas are going to go in and out the market very quickly. But if you think that your idea is there to stay and it’s very different then you can issue a patent for it.
5. Perceived ownership
Let’s face it, patents can be expensive and not everyone is able to get them. But there are a lot of ideas that you don’t need a patent for to license it. For a lot less money than patents you can file a provisional patent application and anybody can do it. Sometimes there’s a need of filing a patent but most of the times there’s not. But if you want to play it safe then you can file a provisional.
6. Share your idea with other companies
It’s generally a good idea to share your idea with other founders and investors because they can give you very constructive advice, expose you to new things and make you think of different ways to use your idea. If your idea is good and you’re lucky then the companies may just license your idea which takes us to step 7.
7. Licensing your ideas with companies
This is probably one of the best ways to protect your idea from getting stolen. First off, you need to recognize a big idea if you have one. Then you can present it to a company. If that company likes your idea it will license it and likely pay a lot of money for it.
8. Letting companies pay for your patents
If your ideas are good then it is very likely that the company you’re licensing your idea with, will pay for its patent. That can help you save money and time on issuing the patent for your idea.
9. Keep quiet about your ideas during crucial moments
You never know what the other person is capable of so you don’t necessarily have to discuss your ideas with everyone. You can also learn from this mistake and be careful in the future. If you weren’t sure about your idea then you can let the thief take the fall for it, this way you’ll know what are the things you should avoid in the future when you come up with something new.
10. Generate new ideas
Even if someone steals your idea they didn’t come up with it in the first place. So basically you have the potential to generate new and even better ideas from that one idea which got stolen. So don’t lose hope and start thinking about what you can do next and how you can protect your ideas next time. Enlisted below are few ways to help you do that.
- Avoid revealing critical information
Only give out the information that is completely necessary. You don’t have to tell people every tiny detail of how you plan on making your idea work. Sponsors and financial institutions maybe one exception to this as they have to be aware of everything regarding your idea before they back it with finances.
- Be very conscious
Be extra conscious of sharing your ideas with people who are overly inquisitive about your idea. Trust your instincts in this matter and back off once you feel that a certain person is taking unnecessary interest in your idea. You can make judgments by your experience. If someone who can potentially invest in your idea is taking interest then you can share details with him but be careful of newbies who are looking for shortcuts to get started in that particular field.
- Trademark your name
Getting a trademark will help get a protective layer on your idea. If in future a conflict of idea theft arises then you’ll be able to show the court the date when you got the trademark which will help resolve the issue.
Get to know about the people you’ll be sharing your idea with. What kind of reputation do they have in the market? Do they have any negative reviews? Are the likely to steal your idea? All this information is very easily accessible these days thanks to the world wide web.
- Have everything in writing
Have as much information in the form of a document as much as possible so that you’ll have proof if in case your idea gets stolen in the future.