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Hi.
I'm not sure where this belongs, but it'll be fine here.

I came up with an idea for a website/service..
It's a really good idea.
I've searched, and searched..
I've found nothing like my idea in existence.
I think it has a lot of potential at becoming a popular service..

Problem is, I'm a high school student.
I have a server, but it's an old server under a co.nr domain, etc etc,,
Next semester in Computer Programming, I'm gonna start work on my idea.
I won't be able to host it just yet, because I haven't the needed resources (a strong server, loads of bandwidth, a domain name, time time time).

My question, is there any way to protect my idea, like, to have it patented? I want to pursue this as soon as I get the time.. Soon, that is.
I'm sure someone else has thought of my idea, as no human thoughts are original, but it isn't to be found on the Internet..

Thanks for suggestions. I'm just not sure how to approach the concept of protecting an idea. Think of this as a general question without specifics :cool:

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Last Post by jwenting
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My question, is there any way to protect my idea, like, to have it patented?

Yes and no.

Firstly, it depends on your local jurisdiction; in America, patents can cover very general ideas, in the UK they can only cover certain things; with exceptions including computer software and mathematic methods.

Secondly, it depends on proofing. You need to be able to prove that you either have implemented, or have throughoughly planned how to implement the idea. You also need to be able to comprehensively detail the parts of your idea that are unique and your own, and therefore patentable. It's more common for companies to patent tiny details of a product or service or system rather than the entire thing, which leads on to...

Thirdly, you need to know exactly what a patent protects you against. In actuality, unless you're already very rich or legally well connected, it's very little. A useful patent covers an extremely specific idea rather than a generalization, otherwise it's easy for a competing company to change a sufficient part of the details of a general 'idea' and get away with it being a different one. That makes patents about as useful as copyright, which is inherent to any implementation.

Still, that doesn't stop companies successfully patenting the stupidest things and then trying to enforce the patent...
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/01/23/sbc_enforcing_allencompassing_web_patent/

You should know, that if you attempt to sue against a company that 'steals your ideas', it might end up costing you alot, especially if you lose the case.

As you said:

no human thoughts are original

So, it can't really be right to try and protect them.

Add to ideas not being original, the fact that most systems are implemented on top of someone elses system(s).

In my opinion, patent's are possibly the worst idea ever.

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If you have trust in your idea making you tons of money, you should have enough trust in it to take out the loans to get the hosting and equipment you need.
If you don't have that amount of trust, no investor will have enough trust in you to give you the money you need to develop it further.

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