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patenting web business ideas

anyone got experience or know good guides?



8:02 pm on Jul 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

i have an idea for a web-delivered service that i'd like to protect.

i'm looking to protect the concept - basically the nature of the transactions that would take place (not the technology - it would all be done with standard existing technology).

of course, because i want to turn it into a business, i also have to start telling people about it, but at this early stage if someone else with more money and resources behind them than me got the idea and wanted to steal it they could do it first.

does anyone here have any experience in picking out what makes a business idea unique and patenting it affordably? or can anyone point me to good guides?

i live in britain, so applicable law needs to be british, although a worldwide patent would be a second goal.

as always, advice much appreciated.



8:09 pm on Jul 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Patents only apply to technical ideas, which usually even involve physically tangible machinery (hence the difficulties and conflicts around software patents). Business concepts are not patentable per definition.

Of course, if you somehow manage to express your ideas in terms of a "method and apparatus", then you might have a chance... ;)


8:32 pm on Jul 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

ah interesting.

anywhere to find out more about "method and apparatus"?

(is that the kind of thing google and overture are at war about?)



8:37 pm on Jul 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jdmorgan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member


Ask your (or a) local solicitor about "Non-disclosure agreements" and see if
they afford the protection you need. If you wish to discuss your ideas with
a potential investor or business partner, having them sign a non-disclosure
agreement before discussing the details may afford you some protection.
Including an outline of what you disclose to the signatories, and having them
initial each page (keep it concise) will be proof that they got the idea from
you should things go bad later.

The company I work for uses these NDAs all the time, so that we can discuss new
ideas with our suppliers and customers.



3:20 pm on Jul 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I can only speak about patents in the US. In general over here we have to have a patent attorney help with the creation of the patent application/documentation.

It's in this area that I offer my advice: Don't go with a patent attorney (or any other person who might help/consult) who doesn't have experience with Internet and technology patents. It will cost you an arm and a leg to get them up to speed, and in the end, your application/documentation won't be as strong as it could be.

:) Do as I say, not as I did.


1:01 am on Jul 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

In the US, you have 3 options; patent attorney, patent agent, or 'pro se', which means you can do it yourself.

A patent attorney is an attorney who passed the patent bar exam (a 6 hour exam which has a pass rate of between 30% and 60%). A patent agent is a person w/ a bachelor's degree in a technical field (or proof of technical education on a high level), who also passes that same, God awful exam.


4:38 am on Jul 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Have a look at "Intellectual property rights" in UK....possibly a govt website or leads as such.

I have been looking at similar myself in OZ, utilising existing (basic) technology out there, but trying to protect the concept or idea.

But someone once said to me, patents are only good if you have the $$ to defend them...speaking from a poor persons point of view (sniff).( and where litigation is not the same as in the US)

Cheers from the Outback


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