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Can I copyright an iphone app idea? Copyright

Discussion in 'Copyright, Trademark, Patent Law' started by socker1, Sep 10, 2010.

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  1. socker1

    socker1 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I have an idea for an iphone app. I do not have expertise in programming. I The idea is not obtained from anyone's IP. I would like to work with a programmer to develop the idea, but I want my idea to be protected. How is the best way to protect it?
     
    1needyfish likes this.
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You could copyright it or trademark.
    That can be expensive and take time.

    If you place a value on your idea, you could also sell it.
    To do that, you might have to "open your kimono".
    The longer you wait, permits another competitor to get to market with your idea.
     
  3. socker1

    socker1 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I just read on a copyright basics document that Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a
    description, explanation, or illustration are not covered by a copyright. My idea is just that at this time, an idea and a method. This sounds more like a patent prospect. Anyone have any ideas? I had contacted a programmer that writes apps. He wanted me to tell him more about my idea, but I am afraid he may steal it.
    Read more at copyright dot gov slash circs slash circ1 dot pdf
     
  4. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    1) File a provisional patent if this is a process. You have a copyright in your code when it is created although good to file for one as well.

    2) Make sure that you have the programmer sign (a) a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement before you discuss it with him or her, and (b) should you agree to work together, a work for hire agreement that states that all the work is owned by and belongs to you.

    If it's that good of an idea that could be patentable, a trip to a patent attorney may be a good idea.
     
  5. crights

    crights New Member

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    Before you pay anyone anything..

    Before you pay anyone anything, I would gather some info on how much it is going to cost to develop and how much return you expect. You may also want to look at Apple's process for determining if an app is acceptable and how much of a cut they take from it. Also, many times "ideas" don't effectively translate into code. The process of determining this itself can also be costly.

    Also, I even if you have the programmer sign a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement and you agree to work together or have a work for hire agreement that states that all the work is owned by and belongs to you, what happens if he bails out and then comes up with some distinct work that effectively subverts your idea. It is a fast-moving and rather relentless market. That you should attempt to protect your iP is a given. But if your IP protection and the chance that the IP may not be relevant in a fast-moving market in short time, with the whole endeavor costing you more than your return, then that is also a consideration.

    I have been told that if your idea is really, really, really good, you might consider pitching it to a venture capitalist of some form, letting them back it or take it and you sit back and get whatever you were able to negotiate from it.

    Good luck, and hope you find success in the endeavor.
     
  6. 1needyfish

    1needyfish New Member

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    I have the same concerns as the above poster in regards how to keep someone from stealing my android/iPhone idea. I've actually written my app out from start to finish (in English), spoke to a person here, a person there, at a couple of different apple stores so as not to give away to much and am convinced that my app is doable, but how do I protect it??? I like the idea of pitching it to a venture capitalist, but again how can keep them from stealing it too?
     
  7. guestpost

    guestpost New Member

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