Website copyright, patents.

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by Tony0693, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. Tony0693 macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2013
    Hi, I am a university student with a solid, new idea for a website.

    Knowing just C programming, it would take me a very long time before being able to put up a quality website. Instead, I'd like to partner up with someone who has more knowledge in website building. I would manage the whole information and business side of it.

    The business plan and the rough draft of the website (appearance, and how the code would work) has already been thought out. I still do not have a business partner.

    I am amazed no one has done this before and with the amount of work necessary to pull it off, I want to be certain we will still be the only one doing this after we launch it.

    Here is my question:

    How do patents and copyrights work (Canada and US) and what are the steps required to get those?

    Basicly : How can I stop others (who are better at website building) from stealing my idea and, ultimately my time and money?
  2. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    This topic has been re-hashed several times on here, so do a search for copyright in this forum and see if something useful comes up.

    In the simplest terms: ideas are cheap (everyone's got some)... implementation matters.

    You cannot patent an idea. You need to have a working implementation. And the patent usually falls to the person who implemented the idea, not thought it up. Keep that clearly in mind as you are looking to partner with a developer (and putting contracts together to form a legal partnership) as this is the person who will someday "own" your patent in the eyes of the law.

    Also understand that a patent is worthless unless you have the means to defend it... if you cant fight for it, you will lose it. So gaining and keeping a patent is a lot more money than the registration fees. If your idea is so strong, I would secure VC funding first then worry about patents and such. Then you have the financial means to make them worthwhile.
  3. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    I'm NOT a lawyer, but copyright in US is fairly simple. You write it, you own it. Nothing else needed.

    Patents are also simple: Contact a lawyer, demonstrate that the process you use to create you site is unique and defendable in a court of law. You cannot patent an idea, just the process to complete that idea.

    Also a very simple answer. You cannot stop someone from stealing your website idea, just like you cannot stop someone from stealing your car. You can contact the authorities once it happens and begin the process of litigation.

    IMHO patenting a website is not the best way to go, trademark or copyright is more defendable and probably protect your investment better.
  4. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the US just move from a first to market to a first to file system, like last week?
  5. Tony0693 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2013
    What exactly would I put copyrights on? This is what I'm having a hard time to grasp. If patents are for the process and the idea is not something you can protect then what exactly do copyrights do or protect.
  6. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    My understanding is that you can't patent the idea of a website idea, you would patent how the content on the website is created.... the back-end stuff. Also keep in mind that if your idea relies on software to create what the website displays, then you may also be able to copyright the software.

    However, without the details people here can't give you more than vague answers, that are probably wrong in any case. And I can understand you don't want to share the details. You need to talk to a lawyer with experience in these areas. Once you have 'hired' the lawyer, they are bound to confidentiality. It will cost you money, but if your idea is really worth pursuing you are going to be spending a lot more before you see any returns.

    Good Luck.
  7. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000


    Dec 7, 2007
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    From a perspective of litigation and protection:

    As soon as you write an article, you automatically hold the copyright. Legally, you don't even have to put a copyright notice on it - although it's certainly a good idea to do that. Registering the work with the Copyright Office gives you more clout in court if there's ever a lawsuit involving the copyright, and allows you to sue for punitive damages if you sue someone for copyright infringement - if you don't register the copyright, you can only sue for the amount of money you actually lost because of the infringement. If you update the content, the only way to get the same damages in court is to send in updates to the Copyright Office which is not free.
  8. fig macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Keep in mind as well that just because you don't see something online doesn't mean someone hasn't patented it.

    You've got to have something very specific for it to be patentable, you can copyright your content but that usually doesn't stop someone from liberally borrowing your idea (for example all the freelance work/exchange/design bidding websites out there, all the social networking sites, etc.).

    Generally speaking the one who wins these things (as in has the most success) isn't the one who thinks up the concept, but the one who does it best.
  9. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    Yes we did ( with a one year grace period ), but that only applies to patents, not copyright or trademark.

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