Is there a way to delay copycat competitors from stealing ur ecommerce website idea? As a generic example, I have a site idea where customers search for a product on my site, then in the background my site will run that search on ebay.com and return ebay's listings, but in the layout of my site and with a pre-determined price reduction. Sort of like Orbitz.com or Kayak.com does for airline tickets...So being that the success of my site is piggybacking off of ebay, would there still be a way to claim rights to, or patent the idea? Secondly, if there is a way, would ebay.com need to give their approval even though there is no use of their name or public connection to them at all?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Ideas themselves are not protectable intellectual property. The way your website looks and operates may be protected, depending on the uniqueness and other factors.
Regarding ebay, it depends on what you are providing to your website visitors. If it is just the information anyone can get from ebay, it should be fine. But you have to be careful about using ebay's IP when relaying the information.
Either way, you should retain a local IP attorney to assist as these issues can be complicated.
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