Law Office of David MacTavish, LLC

Chicago skyline Chicago metro area

Idea Protection

As you may have realized, the area of idea protection is full of difficulty for all sides involved including the party who develops the idea, any party to whom the idea is revealed, and anyone who may may use a similar idea.

The law and policy makers in our country generally believe in free enterprise, and this means not giving anyone a monopoly on a particular idea, way of doing something, or type of business, unless certain standards and rules have been met. Law makers have carved out laws to protect certain people who have authored certain types of original works (see Copyright), invented things (see Patents), own specific symbols, words, or other devices that designate the source of goods or services (see Trademarks), or those who have created confidential formulas, lists, manufacturing methods, or anything that is beneficial to a business (see Trade Secrets).

If someone were allowed under the law to merely come up with an idea, and thereby create a legal right in the idea or a monopoly such as is created in the case of copyrights and patents, he or she could cause significant trouble. Worse, the public wouldn't know who had created what ideas or how to protect itself in the creation of new ideas. The world of idea creation would be like the wild west with people suing each other right and left for idea infringement.

Law books contain numerous court decisions where ideas were revealed and the proposal rejected or not acted upon by the recipient only to later appear in the recipient's television show, product catalog, or sound recording, with no payment to the idea creator.

Still, many people need ways to present ideas to other parties with some level of security because ideas must be exposed to others to procure funding and for development and production.

While it may be difficult to create a foolproof method for revealing an idea that will absolutely prevent infringement, it is possible to create ways of presentation that will help protect you in the event of an infringement of your idea. Then if you believe your idea has been misappropriated you may be able to enforce your rights.

Contact the Law Office of David MacTavish, LLC to see what options you have as an idea creator.