Legal Question in Technology Law in New York


how do i make an idea mine so that no one else may use it .

Asked on 10/27/07, 10:56 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Gerry Elman Elman Technology Law, P.C.

Re: idea

I am answering this based on United States law.

First, if all someone has is an "idea," for example, that "it would be good for nations to pass laws to require their citizens to cut back on carbon dioxide emissions," there isn't any way to appropriate it exclusively. In particular, the US Copyright Law provides that an author cannot copyright an "idea," but that the author's EXPRESSION of the idea can be protected by that legal tool.

However, if the idea has been defined in a way that it provides a concrete and tangible result, then maybe it could be a "patentable invention." It is possible to patent a novel, nonobvious and useful machine, article of manufacture, composition of matter or method. In that event, the protection would be defined by the granted CLAIMS of the U.S. patent.

As a patent attorney, I help clients to navigate the rapidly changing regulations of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in seeking to obtain such protection, and I would advise you to seek a confidential consultation with a patent attorney to get an evaulation of whether your idea might define a patentable invention.

Also, even if someone's invention turns out not to meet the legal requirements of being patentable, sometimes other legal tools could be brought to bear - such as confidentiality agreements to protect the idea as a trade secret. And sometimes a name or logo can be important in identifying the idea, so the law of trademarks and unfair competition might be pertinent.

Read more
Answered on 10/28/07, 5:52 pm

Related Questions & Answers

More Computer & Technology Law questions and answers in New York