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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador
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    Copyright/Trademark a concept?
    What would need to be done to copyright or trademark an idea, or new form of advertising. If someone produced a script that handled advertising in a new way, what would need to be done to ensure nobody else could legally copy it w/out permission & even possibly be paid if someone does? I guess an example would be Google releasing Adwords and then having to pay Overture (unless I misunderstood that whole deal)... or is this just covered under normal copyright laws where the original author/creator automatically owns the rights to it?

    I guess that milliondollarhomepage thing got me thinking - how could there be no issue w/ all of the copycat sites out there? Wouldn't that kid somehow own the rights to that idea, or did he not take the proper steps to protect himself? Or is the idea too broad? Can any advertising scheme be thought of as unique at this point?
    Hi, I'm a signature.

  2. #2
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    Personally, I would hire a good attorney and not breathe a word to anyone about the concept until it is protected

  3. #3
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celicaphile
    What would need to be done to copyright or trademark an idea, or new form of advertising.
    Dude your talking about three seperate items ... a (C), a TM or a Patent and the protection or requirements for all three are different and at different costs.

    If someone produced a script that handled advertising in a new way, what would need to be done to ensure nobody else could legally copy it
    Well it's a script, so written word would be a (C) but that means shoot when we are talking functionality and that is a patent.


    w/out permission & even possibly be paid if someone does?
    Ok once again a patent.

    I guess an example would be Google releasing Adwords and then having to pay Overture (unless I misunderstood that whole deal)... or is this just covered under normal copyright laws where the original author/creator automatically owns the rights to it?
    Yep Patent.

    I guess that milliondollarhomepage thing got me thinking - how could there be no issue w/ all of the copycat sites out there? Wouldn't that kid somehow own the rights to that idea, or did he not take the proper steps to protect himself? Or is the idea too broad? Can any advertising scheme be thought of as unique at this point?
    Ok so now that we know it's a patent you need, let me ask you to search for abroller ... cheap and easy enough to manufacture, tons of profit and I'm sure the owner would be more than willing to license it, but there are 20 like a like knock offs and I can tell ya I'm sure he hasn't sued anyone of them, why? Well there are a few adages in the "invention area" one if it is a cure ... wait, pay and patent / protect it. If it ain't and it's just to make money, be first to market and you'll make the money to go on to the next project (s)." Why? Well lets say you actually retain a good patent attorney, it will cost you a min of $40K to get it and to defend it or sue on infringment - $250K.

    Take your million dollar idea ... make as much as you can, and encrypt the files and sell sell sell, you will be copied if it's good, if not it cost you only a few bucks to encrypt the files.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  4. #4
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I couldn't agree more.
    Michael Coley
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  5. #5
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Only way to be assured your covered from copycats is to pay for a Patent and then a registered trademark and copywrite. I'm the AM for a merchant who sells only USA Patented, trademarked and registered copyrighted products. Not even the major apparel competitors dare cross the line.
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  6. #6
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    damnit... patent... that's what I was looking for - on the tip of my brain the whole time :P
    Hi, I'm a signature.

  7. #7
    Affiliate Marketer Rogi's Avatar
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    I'm fairly certain that the example of the milliondollarhomepage cannot be protected as a 'concept' or 'idea'. A patent is generally applied to something along the lines of an invention.
    The best that guy could do is have copyright on his code, color schemes and layout and enforcing it would mean he'd have to spend the million he makes.

  8. #8
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    I'm not a lawyer, but I have a desk drawer full of patents. I've also been an expert witness in patent litigation. Patent law has been drastically changed. Software can now be patented, as well as algorithms, and even business methods.

    Getting a patent will cost a lot of money, but probably not $40K. From what you say I would guess less than $10k. But if the patent examiner wants to keep challenging you over an over again, it could increase. And you could spend a lot of money and still be denied a patent.

    Check into a Provisional Patent. It gives you a filing date for purposes of defending your claim as original inventor. It is not published, so competitors won't see it. It expires in one year. It doesn't give you any patent protection. It just establishes a date, and you have the right to label your product "Patent Pending". It has to follwed be within one year with a real patent application. But you don't have to file a real one. You can just let the provisional lapse if you want to. Best of all, it's cheap, and you can file it yourself. It doesn't have to be as detailed and specific as a regular patent application.

    Check http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/provapp.htm

    But like Haiko said, defending a real patent is a big bucks proposition. If a big company decides to infringe, you'd be out of luck, unless the idea was super profitable. I advise my low budget clients to get it on the market, make a big splash, make a bunch of money before the copycats can get theirs launched. Be first and create momentum, brand recognition, customer loyalty, and use your creative talent to keep improving and throwing obstacle at your competitors.

    If you have scripts, don't forget to attach a copyright notice and include a license agreement.

  9. #9
    All Around Web Guy Cursal's Avatar
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    You can register work at I created it first.com

    A simple and affordable place to claim protection over your work

    http://www.icreateditfirst.com/ecom/Welcome.jsp

    --Brian
    Oregon Publishing: Web Development, Graphic Design, Domains & Marketing
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  10. #10
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    That's an interesting site, Cursal. Does it have any way to validate that the member is submitting their own original work? I wonder if submitting to the site would constitute public disclosure. I see that anonymous searches can be done, but the member has the option to hide their submissions.

    Seems like a pretty good way to establish a date.

  11. #11
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    Excellent post Haiko,

    No matter how much protection you try to get it won't help unless you've got very deep pockets to begin with. Being the first to the market is the only way to go in this dog eat dog world. Trust absolutely no one. The real advantage of a patent number is not on the offensive but the defensive. That way when Mr. Deep pockets comes after you with an infringement case you'll have the protection you need.

  12. #12
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    Heyder is absolutely correct. If you're one of the little guys, the big guys can eat you for breakfast. So what if you have a patent. They can pretty much ignore you unless you have money and staying power to challenge them in court.

    Best bet is be first and fastest with your product.

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