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Poor man's copyright ? I have an idea I need to protect.Help?

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lildreamer316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:24 PM
Original message
Poor man's copyright ? I have an idea I need to protect.Help?
Husband and I came up with a pretty marketable idea and I need to get it protected ASAP. What is the cheapest and/or quickest way to do so?
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Taxloss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:27 PM
Response to Original message
1. Seal it, dated, in a sturdy envelope or package, and have it delivered to
yourself by courier service. The delivery date and time will be recorded and if you keep the envelope sealed, you have demonstrable proof that the idea existed on a certain date.
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qnr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Certified/Registered mail is another route n/t
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 05:31 PM by qnr
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LostinVA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:02 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. Per my producer's entertainment lawyer:, this does not do a thing
And will not legally stand up in court.

You can copyright something for less than $30.
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BigMcLargehuge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:42 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. you can't copyright an idea though
sounds like someone needs to write a patent. I'd say talk to a patent attorney, if it's a good idea they will help you set everything up.
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trof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:30 PM
Response to Original message
3. Or send to yourself registered mail
Edited on Wed Oct-19-05 05:30 PM by trof
with delivery receipt.
Then give it to a trusted lawyer to be placed in his safe, unopened.
Actually, one to the lawyer and one to you would be better.
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lildreamer316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
4. Thanks both! n/t
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no name no slogan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 05:56 PM
Response to Original message
5. Registering copyrights is pretty cheap actually
IIRC you can register the copyright to one work for about $25.
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LostinVA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:03 PM
Response to Original message
7. You can't necessarily copyright an idea
Many people often independently come up with the same basic ideas (cars, etc.), and you can't always legally copyright them. Check on the US copyright office's page for info.
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lildreamer316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:15 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Mmmm
ok; I'll look into that. Thanks.
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Baclava Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:45 PM
Response to Original message
10. Aren't you gonna tell us what the idea is?
How can we help if we don't know the details?

(Send blueprints if needed...especially if it's teknickle)
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Angry Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 06:52 PM
Response to Original message
11. If it's an idea, you'll need a patent
And to get a patent will cost you a few grand so a decent patent attorney can do the requisite patent searches for pre-existing similar or identical ideas, as well as help you write up the idea very cleverly, such that a minor modification won't simply invalidate your whole protection.

In general, "they say" that if you have a good, simple product to be marketed, your best bet is to get it out there quick and sell it yourself, making profits by taking advantage of the time lead you have on any competitors. Because chances are eventually someone will find a way to skirt around your patent....
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lildreamer316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Well
The same thing as we are thinking about doing sorta exists, but not in the format that we want; and is not the exact same thing. We would be able to market this product to a number of businesses that specialize in one area of entertainment, but I want to affiliate us with a business that is already in existence.Their business would make our idea ten times more effective,but it would be possible to do it on our own also and still be pretty solvent. So, I'm not sure if I need a patent or just a copyright.(so as to protect our idea from being "stolen" by this said other business)
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jmowreader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 06:41 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. You need a patent
Actually, you need a tangible expression of your idea first.

There are three legal protections for tangible expressions of ideas--patents, copyrights and trade dress.

An example I pulled out of the air: I own a company that rebuilds Camaros better than new. I have created a new rear-axle bracket that makes the car safer. I naturally want to sell this bracket to every Camaro owner.

I can patent the bracket under a utility patent.
I can't patent it under a design patent because the shape of the bracket and its function are inseparable, but if I was building...oh, computers that are shaped like basketballs...I could patent the shape.
I can patent the unique welding process we use to make them.
I can patent the formula for the polyurethane bushings in the bracket.
If the color of either the PUR or the bracket itself are unique, I can patent that too.
I can copyright the name of the bracket.
I can copyright the manual for it.
I can copyright the box it comes in.
I can also patent the design of the special box I use to ensure the bracket comes to you undamaged.
I can trademark the logo.

All these things assume that the item being protected is unique.

Copyright is the most limited. It doesn't prevent me from releasing a book about Bush being a coke-addled drunken hereditary Nazi three weeks after Matcom releases a book about Bush being a coke-addled drunken hereditary Nazi, but it does prevent me from releasing Matcom's book with my name on it. In fact, it doesn't prevent 30,000 "Bush is a coke-addled drunken hereditary Nazi" books from hitting the streets within three weeks of each other...just so long as they're all original works.

At the other end of the scale is the Intermittent Windshield Wiper patent. The guy who invented the intermittent wiper had the patent written in such a way that you couldn't build an intermittent wiper without infringing on it. The guy sued, and collected from, every car maker in the entire world.

But your first duty is to create a tangible item--something you can hold in your hand or look at. Only then can you start the process of protecting it.
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lildreamer316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 11:21 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Okay
That make it alot clearer. Thanks so much!
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CanuckAmok Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 11:23 PM
Response to Original message
15. You can tell me. I can keep a secret.
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