I want to know, if I can live with what I know. And only that.
Protecting your web site idea should be the first thing you do when starting a business venture. A non-disclosure agreement is always good to have in place, when you sit down and discuss this with anyone you come in contact with. But it doesnt protect you all the way. you need to Service Mark, copyright or trademark your Logo`s and company`s Intellectual property. This is in the business to be.
Now as far as patenting, and trademarking your web site per say, it`s going to cost you an arm and a leg.
There is not much you can do about the rest since, it`s in a public domain (meaning it`s available to the public) and it`s on the internet. People will take your ideas, and perhaps try to develop something similar to yours, that doesn`t mean they took your idea. They simply took your layout. There is not much you can do about your source code (the way your web site is put together) either.
I would suggest finding a tech partner who has the skills you`re missing. There`s a forum for partners and team members on this site.
You can probably start with a very general introduction on the website idea... and if someone`s interested, arrange a NDA.
I realize you want to protect your IP. And I do believe you need to use whatever tols necessary, but I found this quote that may help you feel more confident about sharing ideas. I`m paraphrasing:
"Don`t be afraid of someone stealing your ideas. If they`re truly original, you`ll have to force them down their throats."
Best of luck to you!
Thank you all for your replies. Everything is helpful.
So far, this seems to be a must. However, there are still some unanswered questions when it comes to an NDA. And, I`m really new to all of this, so please do forgive the blatantly novice questions. I have books on the way to educate me further, but until then I`m learning everything as I go. With that said, is there a way to grant protection to your ideas/site by somehow associating the NDA with the schematics themselves, which upon signing would deny said party the right to produce the details and ideas therein, along with the right to fully prosecute if they leak information to outside sources? I have a general idea of what NDA`s are all about, and if they can accomplish these two things that makes me a happy camper.
Is it atleast as good as a patent as far as the people who sign it? I suppose the biggest problem with an NDA, is that it doesn`t offer protection outside of people who sign it. However, I suppose that`s why there`s a clause stating that if they leak information to outside sources, they will be held legally responsible. But once again, I suppose the problem is, if they leak information, how are you going to go about proving it was them, especially if you`re giving these forms to a few different people. I suppose the threat of the forms, should be enough. The way I figure it, if you`re offering these people a piece of the pie, to go in together with the website with you, they would have no reason to want to go behind your back. That`s why I think forming some type of a joint venture would be the best idea. If they smart, they should fully realize they website just won`t turn out the same without the full guidance of the person who created it. And if they`re already guaranteed something like 10 percent, than why should they go behind your back. I`m just talking out loud here, I really could be off base with all of this.
Let me get this straight. I think you`re suggesting that I get protection via not protecting unique ideas themselves, but rather by protecting wording and logos and such. Is this why you go on to say that even once my site is complete, people could go on to steal my layout and other aspects? This might be the proper course of action to take once the website is up and running, and actually a required course of action, but as far as stopping people from stealing my ideas, I don`t know how much it will help. I mean, I have a cool logo thought up, but it really isn`t necessary to the success of the site. And if this whole legal process isn`t going to guarantee me full protection, it can`t possibly be worth it at this time.
This I`m not concerned with. I plan on making the site more or less unimprovable, atleast that`s my goal. So once it`s done and complete and out there, any attempts a competitor makes to steal ideas will only yield an inferior product. Unless of course they make a carbon copy of it, which I assume doesn`t and can`t really happen.
Thank you very much for your reply.
[quote=exekuteksearch]I would suggest finding a group of people who do not have the means individually to produce your idea. [/quote]
This may be one of my better options. It`s in fact one of the first ideas I thought of. In my mind, it entails getting a team of individual web designers together by forming a joint business venture with them, guaranteeing them a piece of the pie when it`s all said and done. It occurred to me last night that the best way of going about this might be by presenting my idea to a team (about 5) of freshly graduated web designers. They`ve just graduated, they don`t have any commitments, a business project like this is just what they`re looking for. Have them all sign an NDA and we`re in business. Since I would be the glue that holds the project together, on many different levels, it would be pointless for them to work outside of me.
[quote]The key is to only allow each member of your group to have one specific piece of the idea to work on. [/quote]
The problem with this, is that each individual would most likely need to be unveiled the site in full, before they make a conscientious decision about whether or not to go in on it with me. Hopefully this isn`t too problematic.
[quote] They would of course need to sign a non-compete agreement and an NDA. [/quote]
I have not heard of non-competes before. What makes them different from NDAs.
[quote]If you have any questions or would like any advice on where to find these willing people contact me privately. [/quote]
What exactly do you mean by finding willing people? But whatever it means, sure sounds good. :)
Thank you for your reply. Any bit of a advice from people sure does help.
The waynester, I just wrote you a full reply, but when it pressed post reply it disappeared, arrgh!
[quote]I would suggest finding a tech partner who has the skills you`re missing. There`s a forum for partners and team members on this site.[/quote]
I like this idea. Problem is, what I envision in full would probably take a team of about 5 people anywhere from 6-12 months to complete. Now that`s a absolute guestimation, but I would surely need more than one person to complete this site in any reasonable amount of time.
[quote]You can probably start with a very general introduction on the website idea... and if someone`s interested, arrange a NDA.[/quote]
This is a great idea. In fact, you and I must think alike, because it`s the course of action I plan on taking. I consider it phase 1 of my multi-faceted plan aimed at getting people to join me in my venture. Before they sign an NDA, they surely can`t be revealed important details about the site. However, I plan on sharing with them my philosophy behind the site itself, what it will accomplish, and how it will succeed in ways other sites are failing. This will hopefully be enough to get them interested enough to sign an NDA, and from there we`re in business.
[quote]"Don`t be afraid of someone stealing your ideas. If they`re truly original, you`ll have to force them down their throats."[/quote]
Are you saying that if you`re ideas are truly original, the people you share them with are most likely not going to be receptive to them to begin with, so there`s no need to worry about them trying to steal them? I suppose that would be a nice form of protection, but I don`t think it`s going to happen for me. While my ideas are original, everyone I`ve told them to seems to think its a great idea. Still like the quote though.
I suppose I`m at the crossroads. I understand that billions of websites have been created, and there must be some form of standard procedure that grants people protection. When they either hire/join up with people, the last thing they should be worrying about is them going off and stealing their idea or selling it etc. From what I`ve gathered, it seems like pre-negotiated contracts are the standard, specifically an NDA and what I`ve just come to learn about, a non-compete agreement. If there wasn`t a standard, generally accepted form of protection, business people the world over would surely revolt.
And as far as what route I should take to build the site itself, it looks like I`m faced with these following options.
1) Join forces with a company. Have them sign an NDA before you unveil the site to them, and let them know certain stipulations like profit sharing up front. This would surely be the easiest course of action to take, as the company proficient in web design would be in charge of the operation. I would simply oversee the project itself, and make sure it is created properly. The problem with this scenario is that companies are ruthless, and are most likely in a better situation to screw someone over than your average citizen.
2) Join in a business venture with a group of web-designers. Have each individual sign an NDA, to ensure a form of protection. I would oversee the operation, and run all the business aspects of it. This is the largest challenge in comparison to scenario 1. Perils include the thought of sharing the idea in full to multiple individuals. However, because I would be the glue the holds the operation together, and they would all be guaranteed a piece of the pie, going behind my back would not appear to be a logical thing to do.
3) Join in a business venture with one web-designer. I really didn`t think of this idea, and I actually like it a lot. It would make it much easier to find one trustworthy person, and monitor how much can be accomplished working together. This would be a great way to get the project off the ground, and once it is, it should be easier to find other people to join in the effort.
4) Join in an business venture with a silent partner who will provide the funds. Introduce to them the site, have them sign an NDA, and hopefully they like it enough to join forces. The only scenario where this is a logical course of action is if I can`t find people who like and believe in the idea enough to work free of charge. This would make it possible to hire people/company, rather than join with people, but the same problems still remain. Just because they`re being hired, does not mean I have any more protection when it comes to secrecy and ownership.
So there is what seems to be my main options. Are there any that stand out to you guys as the proper course of action? Thank you once again for all your replies, they`re very much appreciated.
hey watson... i`m in the same exact predicament as you are- exactly the same.
my question is whether or not you can ask people to sign you NDA/Non-compete before you incorporate. What if you don`t have a name for your site yet... can you still ask people to sign the nda/non-compete?
we should get in touch since we are on the same exact boat.