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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    19

    Default Can I Sue if I Have Proof My Idea Was Stolen

    A friend of mine came up with an idea for a business. I loved the idea and made plans to make it a reality. He foolishly shared the idea on his YouTube channel. A subscriber/viewer heard and stole the whole idea (name and concept). Unfortunately this person registered the name and got the biz rolling (online) before we could.

    So is that video tangible proof that the idea was stolen and enough to get the thief to cease and desist?

    I read that there’s no legal consequences if we were to still go through with our business as long as we’re not in the same state/market. But I had plans of eventually registering at the federal level but this situation blocks that. We aren’t registered at the state level yet though.

    Also my friend confronted this guy via Instagram and the guy responded by blocking him.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,532

    Default Re: Can I Sue if I Have Proof My Idea Was Stolen

    Somebody screwed up by publishing their idea. You have no rights to an idea. Sorry but the guy that moved on it first did nothing illegal.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,868

    Default Re: Can I Sue if I Have Proof My Idea Was Stolen

    It was your friend's idea, not yours. It was his to do with as he saw fit. He gave it away.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    7,204

    Default Re: Can I Sue if I Have Proof My Idea Was Stolen

    In order to protect an idea, you need to get a patent. If you don't have a patent for your friend's idea then you can't sue someone else for using it. Your friend was foolish to put the idea out in the public.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,000

    Default Re: Can I Sue if I Have Proof My Idea Was Stolen

    And the poster couldn't get a patent for his friend's idea. The friend possibly could have if he had done it before disclosing it. Once he put it out there on the web, it ceases to meet the requirement of being"novel."

    But, not all ideas are patentable to begin with.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    1,290

    Default Re: Can I Sue if I Have Proof My Idea Was Stolen

    Quote Quoting TheStar
    View Post
    So is that video tangible proof that the idea was stolen
    No. Just because someone posted a video that explained a particular business idea does not prove that some other person who started a similar or identical business got the idea from the video. It's possible for multiple people to have the same idea.

    Quote Quoting TheStar
    View Post
    and enough to get the thief to cease and desist?
    No. The only law that protects ideas is contract law. In order to keep his idea protected, your friend would have to have maintained the idea in secret and not shared it with anyone else except pursuant to a contract (or other legal relationship such as an attorney-client relationship) that required the other person to maintain the confidentiality.

    As you mentioned, putting the idea onto the internet was foolish.

    Quote Quoting TheStar
    View Post
    I read that there’s no legal consequences if we were to still go through with our business as long as we’re not in the same state/market.
    Maybe. You might not have any legal consequences even if you're in the same state/market. The devil is in the details.

    Quote Quoting TheStar
    View Post
    I had plans of eventually registering at the federal level but this situation blocks that. We aren’t registered at the state level yet though.
    Registering what?

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
    View Post
    In order to protect an idea, you need to get a patent.
    This is incorrect. Neither patent law nor any other form of intellectual property law protects ideas. A patent may protect "any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof." 35 U.S.C. section 101. "A patent cannot be obtained upon a mere idea or suggestion."

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