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      04-05-2014, 05:45 PM   #1
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Legal Help: Protecting Idea from Company

Hey there,

So here is my dilemma:
There is currently a small company ($5mln-$10mln valuation) that I have been following. I have a great idea of a product/service that they could easily bring to the market, and I am fairly certain they would have success with it. I am currently not connected to the company at all and have not contacted them.

What sort of legal defense can I construct to protect my idea when I present it to them so that they can't turn around and use my idea without giving me any compensation or credit? If they take the idea, I hope to become involved in the company and see it through to the end (which I know the owner would probably agree/encourage). I have never met anyone related to the company in real life, however, I know of their reputation and I wouldn't put it past them (or anyone, really) to try and screw me.


Thanks for your help and ideas,
E

edit: It's not a new idea or product that can be patented... Just an idea of a certain company bringing it forward to a certain market that they currently are not.
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      04-05-2014, 06:02 PM   #2
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When did the OT forum on BP become a lawyers office? Seriously, i highly doubt youll get good advice from anyone here. Go consult a lawyer (usually free or a small charge)
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      04-05-2014, 06:11 PM   #3
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When did the OT forum on BP become a lawyers office? Seriously, i highly doubt youll get good advice from anyone here. Go consult a lawyer (usually free or a small charge)
Great advice, I would have never thought

Anyone else have constructive advice?
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      04-05-2014, 06:13 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Wakka View Post
When did the OT forum on BP become a lawyers office? Seriously, i highly doubt youll get good advice from anyone here. Go consult a lawyer (usually free or a small charge)
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Great advice, I would have never thought

Anyone else have constructive advice?

You have to spend money to make money?
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      04-05-2014, 06:14 PM   #5
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Intellectual Property Law, aka IP Law. Find an IP lawyer.
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      04-05-2014, 06:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric335 View Post
Great advice, I would have never thought

Anyone else have constructive advice?
There is no other advice. You could get some "clever" idea here from someone with no legal expertise, use it because it sounds good, and have exactly what you fear happen.

Sometimes you just need the pro.
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      04-05-2014, 06:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric335 View Post
Hey there,

So here is my dilemma:
There is currently a small company ($5mln-$10mln valuation) that I have been following. I have a great idea of a product/service that they could easily bring to the market, and I am fairly certain they would have success with it. I am currently not connected to the company at all and have not contacted them.

What sort of legal defense can I construct to protect my idea when I present it to them so that they can't turn around and use my idea without giving me any compensation or credit? If they take the idea, I hope to become involved in the company and see it through to the end (which I know the owner would probably agree/encourage). I have never met anyone related to the company in real life, however, I know of their reputation and I wouldn't put it past them (or anyone, really) to try and screw me.


Thanks for your help and ideas,
E

edit: It's not a new idea or product that can be patented... Just an idea of a certain company bringing it forward to a certain market that they currently are not.
IP law isn't my specialty but since a patent is out of the equation, you're left with copyright and trademark protection.

Trademark isn't applicable here either.

That leaves you with copyright. However, copyright protection does not extend to "ideas" alone.

You can chew on this before you schedule an official consultation:

http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-protect.html
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      04-05-2014, 06:26 PM   #8
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It's going to be tough. You could ask them to sign an NDA, but they probably won't.
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      04-05-2014, 06:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ybbiz34 View Post
IP law isn't my specialty but since a patent is out of the equation, you're left with copyright and trademark protection.

Trademark isn't applicable here either.

That leaves you with copyright. However, copyright protection does not extend to "ideas" alone.

You can chew on this before you schedule an official consultation:

http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-protect.html
Interesting. Seems like I may be SOL unless I write up a contract/NDA that would never get signed. I'll speak to a lawyer I know on Monday and see what I can do...
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      04-05-2014, 06:47 PM   #10
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no company who knows what they are doing with even entertain listening to your idea. People send ideas to companies all the time and they will not even look at them. The reason being if they for some reason had a similar idea and you claim it was your and sent them the idea they do not want to deal with a lawsuit.

Companies do not want to pay people for ideas unless they feel it can bring them more value and they will usually come to you not the other way around.
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      04-05-2014, 06:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Maestro View Post
no company who knows what they are doing with even entertain listening to your idea. People send ideas to companies all the time and they will not even look at them. The reason being if they for some reason had a similar idea and you claim it was your and sent them the idea they do not want to deal with a lawsuit.

Companies do not want to pay people for ideas unless they feel it can bring them more value and they will usually come to you not the other way around.
Yeah I absolutely agree, for the most part. If you knew the business/idea you would understand. I would never go and shoot an email to Apple about a better computer, I'm not that stupid. But this business is kind of ran by cowboys (intellectually, not actually) that have a ton of potential in front of them that they haven't realized, and there's only two people managing it. I would agree 99.99% percent of the time, but this is that one in a million opportunity that these guys have and dont seem to see.... They are young and inexperienced, as well.
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      04-05-2014, 06:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by italia
Intellectual Property Law, aka IP Law. Find an IP lawyer.
This. My dad had to go through one (although he has that lawyer within his company) to protect his idea with the company he is starting up.
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      04-05-2014, 09:05 PM   #13
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Just tell us your idea already since these guys are going to steal it anyway
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      04-05-2014, 10:29 PM   #14
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Go look up some intellectual property lawyers. With a lawyer/notary present you can sign legal documents to keep your ideas confidential and have this to use against them in the event that they take your idea and run. Goodluck
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      04-05-2014, 11:55 PM   #15
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If it's not an idea that can be patented, make sure your idea isn't violating an existing patent first

Next, find an attorney to work with and send a sketch or description of your design to your attorney. Schedule meeting with company. Have said attorney draw up an NDA for you to bring to this meeting. Have everybody sign NDA. Present your idea.
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      04-06-2014, 09:54 AM   #16
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If you can't patent the idea to sell, then your best bet is investing in the business to see a return. Ideas are a dime a dozen.... people who execute ideas get paid.
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      04-06-2014, 11:10 AM   #17
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Ideas are a dime a dozen.... people who execute ideas get paid.
This. If I got paid for every idea I have I would be on the Ferrari forums.
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      04-07-2014, 09:17 AM   #18
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Yeah I absolutely agree, for the most part. If you knew the business/idea you would understand. I would never go and shoot an email to Apple about a better computer, I'm not that stupid. But this business is kind of ran by cowboys (intellectually, not actually) that have a ton of potential in front of them that they haven't realized, and there's only two people managing it. I would agree 99.99% percent of the time, but this is that one in a million opportunity that these guys have and dont seem to see.... They are young and inexperienced, as well.

To your point, if they are a bunch of cowboys, they most likely are not going to listen to your idea, and if they do why would they pay for it or share in the profits. You're better off doing it yourself, or enter in to a legal partnership with them.

The cost to fight these cases are huge. I am not a lawyer but I am on a daily bases negotiate IP and ownership contracts all the time. If you do not have the right agreement and legal understanding set up ahead of time, then your battle to recover is an uphill battle.

There is an IP case that was just file recently which some guy in Philly who claims he was working with Ford for many years on a design for injectors for the ecoboost engines, Ford decide to go another path and this guy is now claiming Ford in fact did use his ideas and do not want to pay him for them.

For your reading

http://www.carscoops.com/2012/08/inv...inging-on.html

Last edited by Maestro; 04-07-2014 at 12:00 PM.
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      04-07-2014, 10:17 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by ybbiz34 View Post
IP law isn't my specialty but since a patent is out of the equation, you're left with copyright and trademark protection.

Trademark isn't applicable here either.

That leaves you with copyright. However, copyright protection does not extend to "ideas" alone.

You can chew on this before you schedule an official consultation:

http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-protect.html
This is a nutshell. I am not a Lawyer but was involved in a similar situation with a software company in the 80's but I was an employee. They patented my teams idea and we all got a dollar. Serious fact oh and our names on the patent until the patent ran out. My point is if it's not your company and you are not bringing the idea to the end market good luck. I'd settle for a nice job, big salary and bonus in trade for your idea, especially since as you say it's not a new idea.
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      04-07-2014, 11:58 AM   #20
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This is a nutshell. I am not a Lawyer but was involved in a similar situation with a software company in the 80's but I was an employee. They patented my teams idea and we all got a dollar. Serious fact oh and our names on the patent until the patent ran out. My point is if it's not your company and you are not bringing the idea to the end market good luck. I'd settle for a nice job, big salary and bonus in trade for your idea, especially since as you say it's not a new idea.
Yeah most people do not realize that any ideas they develop while working for someone else is not your, all rights belong to the employer. This also goes for Universities, if where at school you come up with an idea which is somehow related to what you are studying at school they too have the rights to the ownership of the idea. Having you name on a patent may not bring you wealth while at that company, but having your name on a number of patents can surely help you get a much better position at another company.

Getting a $1 is kind of low since many company pay more, but they are required to pay you something if they do not then you might have case against the company on future royalties.
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      04-11-2014, 11:46 AM   #21
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Agreed but this was the early 80's, a big six firm in IT consultantcy, and a extensive to mod to their software package that allowed them to leverage into a whole new industry. No one there had brought this up except my team from constant client contact. Patent ran out name's not there and frankly do not care because everybody in the make to order manufacturing world does that now. Not like we found the cure to cancer.

My point to the OP was, it's not his idea(he said it was not a new idea), he's offering it to someone else for them to bring to market. They assume all the risk. I'd settle for a really nice gig from them to develop it to maturity and leverage off that for the future. I doubt he'll get diddly for a new variation of the same old thing.
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