GUIDANCE FOR IDEAS

Big plans? Here's the first step.

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Here’s the thing: ideas or concepts cannot be protected by an intellectual property right. They are and should remain free for everyone to use. Only the specific, tangible elaboration of that idea is protectable: the source code, the book, the picture.

For example, you have a great idea for a mobile app and you happen to tell a friend over drinks at the pub. A couple of months later, you realise someone has used that exact same idea and developed the app just like you imagined it. It is possible someone overheard you at the pub, or that your friend spilled the beans, it just doesn’t matter: there’s not much you can do. The programmer will have copyright on that software, even though you came up with the idea first.

However, there are ways to make sure your idea is safe until you’ve actually developed it. Keep records of every step of your creation and relevant documentation. If you need to talk to a third party to develop your idea, make sure you get them to sign a non-disclosure agreement or NDA. If you’re a software developer, you can put parts of the software or beta versions in escrow: this will give it the extra benefit of having a timestamp, so you can prove the exact date you developed it.

We can assist you during this process and look at the best strategy for you to develop your idea without the extra worry. Convinced? Ask us how we can be of assistance!

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Have a question? Drop us a message!

You can reach us by telephone (+44 113 320 5884), email (contact@thejurists.co.uk), or through our webchat.

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