Does copyright law protect ideas?

In the absence of patent protection or a confidentiality agreement that accepts an obligation not to use or disclose an idea, which are extremely difficult, if not impossible to obtain with just an idea, the idea can be taken and used without payment. While there may be nuances in the particular domestic laws applicable in these states, there is generally a high degree of harmony. United States patent laws do not require you to have a prototype to apply for a patent, all that is required is that you be able to describe the invention so that others can make and use it. Therefore, before you are tempted to believe that there is a comprehensive way to protect an idea without it maturing into a patentable invention, or even a non-patent invention, you should consider taking the time to understand the purposes and limitations of confidentiality agreements (see here and here) and secrets commercials (see here, here and here).

Understanding how law differentiates ideas from inventions is a great way to learn some of the fundamental principles of patent law. It is common for alleged offenders to respond that they have merely copied the ideas behind the presentation, since the ideas are not protected. Without any identifiable manifestation of the idea, intellectual property protection cannot be obtained and exclusive rights will not flow. I prefer to have a “full set of tools” at my disposal when it comes to protecting a person's intellectual property and reputation and lifelong work.

Intellectual property rights are protected property rights, even if they are not tangible, such as a laptop or home. We have also established a growing list of partner universities that guarantee LawShelf credit transfers, including Excelsior College, Thomas Edison State University, University of Maryland Global Campus, Purdue University Global, and DeVry University. While it can take years before the patent is granted, protection is attached when filing the application. In general, authorization (this can take the form of a license or an assignment of rights) is always needed before using a protected work.

To take advantage of your idea, you must package it in a way that is something that the law recognizes as protectable. Protect your intellectual property by applying for a patent at the right time and with the right details about its exclusive application. If your idea doesn't qualify for a patent, you can apply for protection under the Trade Secrets Act if it's secret and provides a competitive advantage. There are a variety of business decisions to consider when it comes to protecting intellectual property assets.