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BigBadBeef

How to protect the idea?

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So, here's the deal, I've got an idea, and I want to protect it. By that, I am not talking about piracy protection, more like content protection.

 

Say there's a hypothetical scenario, a fiend hacks into my files and steals that which I plan to put into development, and that thing finds its way into big bucks publishing house and they end up hoarding million for something whose concept I conceived... how can I protect myself from such a scenario outside of making a patent, it being under lock and key?

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So, here's the deal, I've got an idea, and I want to protect it. By that, I am not talking about piracy protection, more like content protection.

 

'Content' is what is created from ideas. 'Content' is protected by copyrights.

 

 

 

Say there's a hypothetical scenario, a fiend hacks into my files and steals that which I plan to put into development, and that thing finds its way into big bucks publishing house and they end up hoarding million for something whose concept I conceived... how can I protect myself from such a scenario outside of making a patent, it being under lock and key?

 

You can't patent, trademark, or copyright ideas. Ideas can't be owned.

 

Only your specific implementation or design of that idea can be protected.

If your implementation or design gets stolen, and you can prove it through your documentation, then sue the crap out of that company. But if it's under lock and key, you won't be able to prove that your idea was created beforehand.

 

Apart from that, keep your idea to yourself, and if you must talk to someone else (say an investor), make them sign an NDA. If they violate the NDA, sue them.

 

Ofcourse, if your idea is generic enough, chances are other people also have the same idea, and someone might get around to making it before you. Or even after you. When this occurs, don't assume that they stole "your" idea. Many people come out of the woodwork and start suing big successes like Star Wars and Harry Potter and Twilight and Facebook and whatever else, claiming (and even proving) that they had the "idea" first, or even wrote and published a book or game that's similar. Doesn't matter. If one human can have an idea, hundreds of other humans might get the same idea independently. "Boy goes to magic school" (Harry Potter) isn't owned by anyone. "Boy is chosen one" (Harry Potter and Star Wars and a bajillion others) isn't owned by anyone. Only the execution/implementation of the idea is owned.

 

Same with names. If someone else happened to use the name "Harry Potter" in a book before JK Rowling did, that doesn't mean JK Rowling stole the name. Heck, there are more than one real life people with the name Harry Potter. That doesn't mean JK Rowling stole their birth name either.

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In short the tl;dr version is implement your idea asap in some form quickly and make it publicly known that you were there first. It won't stop others copying your idea but being first has benefits if it's own as you will find out.

In the end though the one who markets the idea most aggressively wins. Does anyone know who designed the first platform game? No? But you could probably identify the character Mario or sonic the hedgehog... I rest my case.

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So, here's the deal, I've got an idea, and I want to protect it. By that, I am not talking about piracy protection, more like content protection.

 

Say there's a hypothetical scenario, a fiend hacks into my files and steals that which I plan to put into development, and that thing finds its way into big bucks publishing house and they end up hoarding million for something whose concept I conceived... how can I protect myself from such a scenario outside of making a patent, it being under lock and key?

 

Don't worry about others stealing your idea, most likely your idea falls into one of three groups:

 

1. ideas that won't work (too expensive, tech isn't ready, market doesn't want it, the idea is stupid, etc)

2. ideas that recently became feasible due to <something>

3. new ideas that were inspired by <something else>

 

if your idea falls into 1. but you know how to bring it to 2. then you don't have to worry about others stealing the idea itself, worry about keeping your solution to the problems secret instead (and if possible patent those solutions if they are patentable)

 

if your idea falls into 2 or 3 then you need to get off your ass and start working, even if you are the first in the world to have the idea and most others who get the idea wrongly place it in 1. you can be fairly certain that someone somewhere will come up with something similar and decide that it is worth persuing, if you sit around and wait someone will beat you.

Edited by SimonForsman

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I wouldn't worry about it for a couple reasons:

 

1) Ideas by themselves aren't worth much.  It's the execution of the idea that matters most.  You can have the most unoriginal idea in the world, but if you do it better than everyone else, you'll more than likely be successful.

 

2) Chances are someone else has already thought of it anyway.  And if it's a good idea, someone else is probably already developing it.

Edited by Shpongle

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The harsh truth is that an idea on its own isn't worth anything. At best, its value is latent -- like a lump coal that will turn to diamond if enough heat and pressure are applied or the grain of sand in an oyster that will become a pearl one day. As a thought exercise, take any of the popular game franchises today -- Mario, Final Fantasy, Tetris, Halo -- and imagine what their germ of an idea might have been. Even if you work backwards from an existing success story, its hard to argue that that germ of an idea has any value of its own if we're being honest with ourselves. Those ideas didn't have any intrinsic value, and sadly neither do mine or yours.

 

An idea is just too simple to even communicate what latent value it might hold -- because an idea of not so many words leaves lots of room for the party hearing it to make different interpretations and additions of their own -- an idea at this level isn't even a singular thing, once you've shared it, it cannot be. You need to elevate a mere idea into a design before its even capable of communicating itself effectively, if imperfectly, but at least then two people can agree on what its value might be -- which is key to establishing collaborators. But even then we're talking about the intrinsic value of the thing in its own terms (that is, how its experienced by whoever experiences it) -- not its monetary value. To raise your once-idea to that level, you now have to rally and transform your design into a tangible thing that can be experienced, and which will entice consumers to pay for the privilege. Ideas are important because they're the first step in this value chain, but perhaps counter-intuitively they are the one link that lacks any value of its own what-so-ever.

 

I cannot think of even a single idea that's ever been sold. Designs, sometimes, but never an idea. Anyone telling you different is reciting fairy tales. So you've got an idea -- that's great -- now comes the hard part. Only you will will decide whether that first link will become something valuable to the world, or become another single link piled deeply in a Scroodge McDuckian vault of 'valuable' ideas.

 

 

TL;DR: Ideas are just the thing that gets you to the thing that's valuable.

Edited by Ravyne

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Apart from that, keep your idea to yourself, and if you must talk to someone else (say an investor), make them sign an NDA. If they violate the NDA, sue them.

 

This is precisely why a lot of potential investors won't sign an NDA.  For just pitching an idea and showing off a prototype, I'd skip the NDA personally.

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As Mr. "Servant of the Lord" pointed out, one can sue the crap out of that company, that particular fact I am already familiar with, but how do I secure the data itself to make it admissible in court? Time stamps can be easily falsified and it can be difficult prove the "me first" claim!

 

You see, that's why I was asking a general question about options in this case, it is difficult in my country to get digital data to become admissible.

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If you are seriously concerned about the security of your information (e.g., being hacked), your best bet is consulting an Information Security Service to help you keep your information secure.

 

Crisis prevention should come before crisis management. A good InfoSec service would also ensure you have the necessary legal means to sue if your information was stolen, not just by proving that this information is yours, but with evidence that your security has been breeched.

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