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Protecting new design ideas


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Have you ever had the next best idea? An idea that could possibly help resolve an issue or start a new global trend?

 

If so, how would you protect your idea from someone stealing it right out from under you?

 

To clarify what I'm getting to, here is an example.

 

In the development of something like jQuery. Most of us knew it existed, why it was being developed and that it was a fantastic idea. In the beginning stages of this development, what kept some major organization with hundreds of programmers from scooping this up and running with it.

 

Any idea on how you would protect yourself from this happening outside of not telling anyone until it is complete.

 

 

Thanks,

Shane

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In my mind, protecting an idea, protecting something visual (a website design, for example) and protecting code are different things.

 

-- Protecting an idea is quite difficult (and, at least in my view, perhaps impossible.) If/how you protect it probably depends on your country's legal system... for example, if you can patent it or protect it in some other way. If it's a unique idea, you may want to keep it to yourself as much as possible. Keep in mind, though, that a successful concepts often has less to do with a new idea, and more about combining existing ideas in a new way, or simply doing something better than the competition that puts yourself apart. For example, I'm pretty sure that jQuery wasn't the first Javascript library, but its implementation is easy/unique. The ipod wasn't the first MP3 player, but it still was wildly successful because of the design/how it was implemented.

 

-- Design related work should automatically be protected once you put it online. For more information, see http://astuteo.com/blog/article/stolen_website_design/ and some of the links below.

 

-- Coding can be licensed under a variety of licenses, giving you control over how the code is used or redistributed. http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/03/24/a-short-guide-to-open-source-and-similar-licenses/

 

More info:

 

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/07/07/copyright-explained-i-may-copy-it-right/

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/06/14/understanding-copyright-and-licenses/

 

With all of these items, realistically, protecting your ideas really just depends on how well/how much money you are willing to pay to enforce your legal rights. Just because you technically have a copyright on something, or have a specific license on something, doesn't necessarily mean you'll be able to enforce it (or have the money to enforce it). You just have to be careful and hope you don't run into any expensive legal issues.

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An actual valid answer, fantastic. I truly appreciate your efforts, great job.

 

It seems like we were thinking on the same lines. I thought it would have to be a top secret project to keep it safe and out of the hands of idea thieves. On the other hand it would really be nice to be able to share a new development project, if for nothing else to get ideas and suggestions. It may make things easier, in some cases.

 

I had to ask because you never know when someone just pops in a says - No problem, just add it here and do this and do that and you should be fine, that's the way I did mine...Something I sure did not want to find out after the fact.

 

Anyway, Thanks for you reply

 

Shane

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One other thing to keep in mind... So much of a development project comes down to how an idea is implemented, not the idea itself. As long as you aren't sharing your full source code or something, there shouldn't be a lot of harm in telling a couple people and getting opinions, or picking a select few to share the idea with and get opinions. If you are concerned about privacy, maybe select people you know personally, rather than just anyone on an online forum.

 

I wouldn't launch a project without at least discussing the concept with a couple people and making sure you aren't wasting your time. The bigger the project, the more important this is, in my opinion, since you don't want to spend a huge amount of time on a flawed idea.

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