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Nairaland Forum / Nairaland / General / Business / Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas (14223 Views)
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|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by vanbonattel: 7:22pm On Oct 02, 2012|
Nice points, just very cool
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by ade2tu(m): 7:35pm On Oct 02, 2012|
A lovely write up. I learnt a lot from this. Thank you Drzed.
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by omowolewa: 7:35pm On Oct 02, 2012|
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by Nobody: 7:39pm On Oct 02, 2012|
Thumb up Dr. Well packaged and informative thread but OP i need to ask this question. If i have a marketing strategy concept on a particular brand precisely Etisalat or Glo the idea is not physical but i have the proposal/manuscript in my portfolio for over 3years now i got discourage the day i came about a thread on Nl 2years ago where Seun said no one can patent an idea which is not physical whereas my idea is not a novel,jingle or Script whereby i can copyright but with this issue of NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT, which i will not lie i am hearing it for the first time work for me?
My Idea is all about migrating to a certain Plan which as not been done by any network in Nigeria and by Migrating to the Plan a customer has to Pay 100 naira stuff like that Please polish me with idea and i will appreciate it thanks.
Just saved this article to my draft.
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by jta2012(m): 7:57pm On Oct 02, 2012|
hi nairalanders,this is an epistle on copyrighting and patenting our ideas ,in fact,i just copied it to my laptop
hope 2 rd later n pass my honest comments.
bracing up for d acada run...i hope we wont av 2 pay CONSULTANCY FEES!!!
all av cool night as the night is vr cold.
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by drzed: 8:21pm On Oct 02, 2012|
bandiejay: Thumb up Dr. Well packaged and informative thread but OP i need to ask this question. If i have a marketing strategy concept on a particular brand precisely Etisalat or Glo the idea is not physical but i have the proposal/manuscript in my portfolio for over 3years now i got discourage the day i came about a thread on Nl 2years ago where Seun said no one can patent an idea which is not physical whereas my idea is not a novel,jingle or Script whereby i can copyright but with this issue of NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT, which i will not lie i am hearing it for the first time work for me?
This is valid question. First of all, let me re-iterate that patents apply only to physical manifestations of an idea. This is why it applies almost always to products or things that can be 'designed' physically or 'seen' and used. Manufacturability is key to patenting. In fact, in reality, a patent is only given to a feasible product that is adjudged to be useful. Meaning you cannot (for example) get a patent for a perpetual motion machine, unless the continuous motion of the machine is proven/demonstrated/appraised to be of some practical benefit. This is to avoid useless patenting.
Secondly, you should understand that you cannot copyright an idea per se, but the 'unique techniques/processes involved' in executing the idea. In plain English, you cannot copyright profit making, but you can copyright an idea about some techniques, processes and steps, which (if taken) can increase profit e.g. by reducing cost and expenditures - all of these, by following a sequence of steps that YOU originated and captured in your document/proposal. In other words, for your proposed idea to be copyrightable, it must have an 'algorithm' to be followed. Dont be scared : an algorithm is simply a sequential order of solving a problem.
Now as for NDA, this is a legally binding instrument designed to protect the "exposure" of your unique idea as long as there is sufficient technical detail to make it 'yours'. For example, let us say your idea is about creating a unique data delivery service (i.e. voice, text and video) for a telecoms company. You can only ask Glo or Etisalat to sign an NDA if your idea involves something like - just an example, please: (a) creating a particular data delivery App for smartphones; or (b) using a GSM/3G network in a particular way that they (Glo/Etisalat) dont currently use; or (c) Creating a web-based service that re-routes data from users through the website to other user....etc/whatever. Any of these (options a, b or c) is clearly a novel solution which you need to protect with an NDA, so that it is not discussed with anyone other than you.
In fact, even a patent can be required/necessary/useful as in case of example (a) i.e. the smartphone App. As for example (b) i.e. a data exchange process via a unique GSM/3G networking system/process that you came up with - this idea can be regarded as a novel solution and can also be patented AND copyrighted. The third example, (a website) for a unique data delivery service via the internet can also be copyrighted, but I am dont think you can patent that. By default, you always own the copyrights to YOUR website - but not many people get documentation to prove this. So if you can design this website already BEFORE speaking to Glo/Etisalat, then you are in a stronger position to (1) demonstrate the feasibility of your idea; and (2) established a bona fide copyright which must not be infringed by anyone.
Sidenote on website: If you dont get legal documents for the copyright of your website, Glo/Etisalat can simply ask one of their web programmers to do something similar and they will try to prove that their website has existed before yours and that it is YOU who is infringing on their copyright. E no easy, rara!
In all the examples above, because your idea is novel (i.e. it is unique, non-obvious to the telecoms compannies) an NDA will always be relevant, unless you elect not to pursue this option. The actual components of your 'idea' will determine if a Patent (e.g. for an App) or Copyright (e.g. for the textual/graphical representation of a GSM/3G service system) will apply.
I hope this answers your question. As I dont know what your particular idea entails, I cannot advice further.
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by drzed: 8:35pm On Oct 02, 2012|
Wallie: Great thread! However, as someone that does this for a living, the inclusion of copyrights as a way of protecting your business idea is wrong. All copyrights does is to protect original works (creative and artistic) of authorship that is fixed in a tangible medium. In other words, it only protects written “anything” and musical plays BUT does not protect ideas, concepts, systems, or methods of doing something.
I agree. Thats why I gave example of a script based on MKO Abiola's June 12 struggle; or Da Vinci's code. You cannot copyright June 12 story, except the way in which YOU have documented it in a book/script/movie.
Yes, I clearly defined design rights but I didnt cover trademarks.
@Wallie and @lagerwhenindoubt: This is because people (inexperienced consultants) misuse NDA's and not because NDAs are a problem per se. The fact is that companies will refuse to sign NDA's because the entrepreneurs are too anxious....and like you said, the company does not YET know what they are signing. Anyone will get put off if you begin to mention NDA or distribute copies of NDA for signing in a first meeting. Go back and read my lines again: because I clearly stated that you need the 'Skeletal Proposal' in the first few meetings; because the Skeletal Proposal is plain and does not require NDA. It only explains that a problem exists and that you (the consultant) have devised a unique way to solve it and the solution basically involves XYZ. And you say no more. Once the company acknowledges that they have such a problem and are willing to listen to your solution and they see its relevance (e.g. usefulness, expected return on investment, etc) - once these basics have been established ...and they want to hear more...only THEN will you ask for NDA to be signed. Not before. If they agree to sign the NDA, then you can bring out the 'Koko Proposal'. In Nigeria as elsewhere, the problem is not the NDA itself, but how (inexperienced) people use or misuse it.
The bottom line or mindset of anyone who wants to use NDA is that: you are trying to engage the parties involved as partners and potential collaborators, but it is just that you would prefer they dont discuss it with anyone. That is why it is called Non Disclosure Agreement. Dont try to scare them by presenting the NDA in a threatening way. The manner of approach counts.
I hope I have clarified myself. Many thanks for your input.
3 Likes 1 Share
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by getukudo(m): 8:43pm On Oct 02, 2012|
Very informartive @drzed! Bookmarking and reading it all over again! Thanks! I have a unique product to sell but didn't know how to go about giving it a legal and patent backing. But now I know...Thanks a million!
1 Like 1 Share
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by drzed: 9:03pm On Oct 02, 2012|
ade2tu: A lovely write up. I learnt a lot from this. Thank you Drzed.You are welcome.
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by Nobody: 9:18pm On Oct 02, 2012|
"Oh my God" in rented ascent ...... Ur head dey there sam sam just last week i was thinkingof having the concept running on website through the help of SMS short code who ever is interested will just send a text at a particular fee.but with this e get as e be sef..
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by drzed: 9:32pm On Oct 02, 2012|
My advice: speak to a lawyer on this issue. Let him/her advice further. Also investigate the Apple/Samsung patent infringement cases for further details on how to proceed. Some of the patented ideas in the Apple/Samsung litigation are based on soft products (e.g. sliding lock on a touch screen phone). So not all patentable ideas have to be 'hard' products.
In short, try to see if you can add some added value to your website such that you can claim novelty. Dont just design something typical or basic in html or PHP and expect the world to stand idle. The idea of copyright and patenting is to protect novelty or intellectual property. You may be on to something. All the best.
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by Wallie(m): 9:38pm On Oct 02, 2012|
Just in case I gave the wrong impression with what I wrote, I do agree with what you said in the OP and my response was meant to showcase the real world problem of getting companies to sign an NDA.
People might get the wrong impression that companies, especially the big ones, willing sign NDAs with unknown entities. They will more than likely just tell the small guy to take a hike unless they really value the stuff in the skeletal proposal if one can get it past the non-entities between one and the oga that can legally bind the company.
A friend of mine once had a new product idea for Ralph Lauren and wondered how she could approach them with the idea without her idea being stolen. I laughed and gave her two options: the first was just a textbook answer of getting them to sign an NDA and the second was to get a design patent before approaching them. She tried to go the design patent route as they would not even consider signing an NDA but that required her to get a draftsman to do the drawings at about $60 per page, etc. I think she abandoned the idea for now.
However, big companies sign NDAs all the time but they usually sign them for companies that they have an established relationship with, companies/consultants that got noticed somehow, companies with proven results etc.
There are no hard fast rules in business and everything is negotiable but one’s negotiating platform determines the kind of leverage one has. In other words, a one-man-show or the like will just sign/do whatever a multinational company says, if one wants them as a client.
Go ask companies that deal with Wal-Mart with what they’re going through! Wal-Mart sets the price of what you sell them and you can either sell to them or go out of business.
To reiterate what you said with my caveat, NDAs provide the best form of protection for an unpatented idea but keep in mind that companies will usually try to avoid signing one unless they have a compelling reason to do so.
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by Wallie(m): 10:10pm On Oct 02, 2012|
I think you’re doing a great thing by deseminating knowledge but you’re conflating different bodies of law and what they apply to.
1. Copyright – YOU CANNOT COPYRIGHT an idea. Copyright only protects the exact words and their derivatives written on a tangible medium (paper, Cds etc). For example, you cannot copy the plot of a movie even with slight changes, like changing the names of the characters, unless it is for satire or falls under fair use. However, there’s nothing stopping one in copyright law from copying your code and re-writing it using different functions and variables unless you can claim that I saw the actual code and even then, it’s not a slam dunk case.
2. Patent law is what covers implementation of ideas and NOT the ideas themselves. However, once something is patented you cannot legally create its trivial equivalent but you can improve on it.
3. The data exchange process that you mentioned can only be protected by business methods type claims or methods type claims under patent law.
You CANNOT patent an idea but nothing is stopping you from executing an NDA as that falls under contract law. To patent your idea, you need concrete steps to do concrete things. Here’s an example of what a claim in your patent will look like:
A method for migrating clients to a wireless plan, comprising the steps of:
generating a list of said clients in a processor by listing said clients that pay more than a predetermined amount on said wireless plan;
creating a bulk sms message in a messaging module to include said listing of said clients; and
sending said bulk sms message through a server to said clients.
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by gbadexy(m): 10:12pm On Oct 02, 2012|
Nice write up. A refreshing and informative piece, much more better than inane post about what celebrity wear or eat.
I'm surprised at the low number of likes and comments here, if it were to be religious r tribal thread, there would have been greater response.
People should start inculcate the habit of reading educative stuffs that would improve them.
2 Likes 1 Share
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by ytm2014: 10:23pm On Oct 02, 2012|
nice nd informtive write up......
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by Nobody: 12:28am On Oct 03, 2012|
That's a good one Dr zed. I saw your article in the other thread, and now this one is more comprehensive. Best part is that it is almost entirely original. Very very insightful piece for the most part. However, certain aspects do seem academic in the Nigerian context. For instance, unless one's ideas are truly ground-breaking, it might be difficult to get most established companies/government agencies to sign your NDA or respect your copyright. At the end of the day, having an 'insider' or facilitator is almost as important as any precaution one might take; that's just the Nigerian reality.
Then again, your insights and perspectives are extremely helpful, and serve as a useful staring point/guide for new and existing consultants. Thumbs up my man.
1 Like 1 Share
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by AfroBlue(m): 4:55am On Oct 03, 2012|
quite a feat to accomplish on an empty stomach and limited resources, but positive moves and goals .
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by Wsdm: 6:40am On Oct 03, 2012|
......A very nice post! You have put up something that shall be translated into So many aspects of life. I hope i will not be charged for copyright if i use your ideas on on my estate/property consultancy services.
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by elnino3(m): 6:52am On Oct 03, 2012|
very very informative.....drzed take a bow .....while I and my ideas applaud u.....
this is GOLD
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by oladayo042: 2:51pm On Oct 03, 2012|
Nice one bro. Thumbs up.
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by dustydee: 1:32pm On Oct 14, 2012|
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by Nobody: 2:42pm On Nov 26, 2012|
drzed: Proposals: Ndas, Copyrights And Patenting: A guide to protecting your ideas
dear poster i have a question, lets say, i depend on another company which has a product that the govt/private company needs, can i have patent right over it? since i want to market that product to either govt/private company.
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by drzed: 12:01am On Dec 11, 2012|
I am not sure what you mean by: I depend on another company which has a product.
Is this product produced from your idea/design but 'manufactured' by this company which you depend on?
Usually, you cannot claim the patent rights over something which another company or person has conceived and developed, as that is technically 'theft' ....unless the product stems from YOUR original idea/design. That is, the product is wholly your idea and the company only helps in the manufacturing and/or marketing of said product.
If the product is of your own initiative, then you had better hurry up and patent it before the company (or anyone for that matter) does so, and you lose out. I must mention that it is possible (even if difficult) to patent a product which is already common but no one has claimed its design...as long as you are not challenged AND the patenting authority is not alert.
So as for your case, if the company (or anyone else involved) has made contributions to the development of this product (by development i mean: in conceiving the idea or in the design/development of the product) then you should not patent the product without their knowledge and/or participation. That would be cheating and this is not something I would encourage or advise.
Again, you may have conceived the idea from scratch; but if someone or company funded the process of developing the idea into a product (whether prototype or actual mass production) then it is worthwhile giving them a slice of the cake. You wont need to name them as co-authors of the patent; but they can own shares or be rewarded in some way or another. Intellectual property must be respected, whether it is a new song by Tuface; a keke Napep that can float during flooding; or a toothpick which doubles as chewingstick and cotton bud . Greed is dangerous. If you discourage stakeholders, investors and partners (i.e. you dont give them their due) you wont go far in entrepreneurial or manufacturing...unless you know where Mobuto hid his loot and you can fund your ideas all the time.
The day Nigerians begin to understand the need for respecting (and paying for) intellectual property, would be the beginning of the end of poverty in our land. Ideas rule the world. Money is just a tool to nurture, execute or purchase ideas. Few people understand this fact, unfortunately.
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by Nobody: 2:29am On Dec 11, 2012|
Thanks drzed. Noted! Now what i was refering to is a software product and fortunately i came cross their permission on how to use it. And comparing it what you said, i think am in safe territory because it will further advertise their product.
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by TEEZERO(m): 8:53pm On Jul 25, 2014|
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by alayebamba(m): 11:03pm On Jan 10, 2016|
drzed:pls I av an idea that I want to sell to telecoms .pls wat steps do I take? Do I need to register a company?
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by ThundrCork(m): 12:14am On Jan 11, 2016|
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by a2hakane(m): 11:52pm On Jul 29, 2018|
Drzed you have done justice to this issue. I was surfing the net for how to send a proposal to telecom companies and to government of a state (actually i have two different proposals i.e one government and one private) when i stumbled on this. thanks for this vital information. i saw online that if i want to submit a proposal to MTN there's a space provided on their website (online), would you advice me to submit my proposal via that channel? secondly, one alayebambam asked this same question but no answer was provided. the question is this, must i register a company as a consultant before i can submit a proposal? as a sinlg unemployed and NOT lazy nigerian youth, can't i just pen down my idea(in form of a proposal) then do the legal stuff you talked about and submit to the client (telecom company or government)? please i need an answer. thanks
|Re: Copyrights And Patenting: A Guide To Protecting Your Ideas by Corrections: 6:08pm On Sep 30, 2022|
Very insightful write up I must confess. Thank you OOOP!!
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