Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd.
Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd.

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Can ideas be considered intellectual property?

The right idea can launch your small basement business in Las Vegas into a multimillion-dollar company. While technically, ideas fall under the umbrella of what intellectual property is, to establish legal ownership, there are certain processes you need to follow.

According to Entrepreneur, an idea must be documented or expressed in some physical form in order to receive protection against infringement. For example, if you are a writer in the entertainment industry, you will need to jot down the idea on a pad, in a computer document or even in a letter to someone. Once you put the idea into a physical form, it may be eligible for copyright protection. If you write a novel, the information stored within your computer may be enough to prove that you are the owner of the work. However, if you have an idea and another person comes up with the same idea, it will be difficult to prove you own that intellectual property without a physical piece of proof.

The same is true for ideas that concern a product or a process. To protect your design of a bowl or a piece of furniture, you will probably need a sketch of some sort. You also need a concept that is beneficial to others and that has not already been done or could be done by someone else. This is trickier than it sounds because there are so many products on the market that are similar to one another. To prove that your idea is intellectual property, the idea must contain an element that is almost ground-breaking in the industry you are working in. Without such proof you could find yourself in a business litigation. 

John P. Aldrich
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