I`ve been researching several ideas over the last two years of high school. I have finally settled on what I think is the dream opportunity for a new business idea. I`ve researched through over a dozen worthy ideas and attempted a few personally. However, while I am not as worried, my father is, because he was exploited by a 17M company over a utility design he did for them that they ended up patenting behind his back. He is very concerned about my idea being `copied` by a larger company that will out-market me with the millions they have on hand- which is a legitimate problem.
My question is how or what I should do about documenting and protecting a mostly software based idea. Increasing my nerves, I`ve recently read about the Patent offices implementing new criteria that renders some major software companies patent-less. I don`t think the article`s point of `concepts that need to change something` apply to my idea. However, I have little faith in our patent system in general.
I read the SuN guide for the invention process, but I am asking for a more detailed answer on documentation. I don`t mind taking pictures of the plan every week if I have to, but I need to know what would be a solid process for documenting, that will hold up in court as date evidence. Something for me to have as an option to go after any copy cats by proving I held the original design/patent inquiry. Eg. The facebook lawsuit
I don`t have the money to go through a patent process right now, as I will be using my savings for the development. But if I get good feedback post-development I will probably (90% likely) invest in a patent. Would post-development be too late? What are some other things I can do to protect myself? For instance, are NDA`s appropriate before discussing development of `patentable` software? Are NDA`s enforceable internationally? Should I avoid the risks by developing between my self and close individuals (this is doable, but is not preferrable)? Theoretically the idea has the potential to net more money than I consider morally acceptable to spend on oneself.
Thank you in advanced for any advice.
Small Business Website Management and Marketing