It is often said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Whoever came up with that saying had obviously never had their business idea stolen!
It is often said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Whoever came up with that saying had obviously never had their business idea stolen! For many of us, trying to come up with new ideas and inspiration for our business can be painstaking work indeed. Sometimes, ideas can take months to develop so that they can become workable, so for someone to see your idea and then take it for themselves can be a big kick in the teeth. And if they turn it into a bigger success than what you were able to, you will be even more angry and frustrated.
As you can tell then, finding out someone has stolen your idea is not a good position to be in at all. You now need to figure out whether you let this one slide or if you are prepared to take them to court for compensation. Not sure what you should do? Here are a few steps that you would need to take if you do find out that another entrepreneur or organization has used your idea for itself. Hopefully, they can guide you as to what you should do next.
Keep Your Ideas Under Wraps
First of all, it’s necessary to take some precautions so that there is little chance of anyone stealing your ideas in the first place. The best thing you can do is to make sure you always keep your ideas under tight wraps while they are still in the development phase. Only the people who need to know all of the details should be told them. That means that you might not even want to discuss some of the information regarding your idea to all of your employees. Generally speaking, you should form a close-knit team of employees who can help with the development and design, and only these should know about your idea when it is still in its initial stages. As you approach the product launch, you can start to inform more of your employees.
Protect Your Ideas
Once you do come up with a great idea, you need to put some protections into place as soon as you can. It’s worth chatting to an anti-piracy specialist and using the DMCA takedown services so that you can ensure your ideas and designs are all fully protected. The best thing about these kinds of anti-piracy services is that you can use them to protect all aspects of your company from copyright. So, even your branding can be protected, which will prevent other entrepreneurs and organizations from using it.
So, you’ve found out that someone is using your idea. Now what? Make sure that you don’t overreact at first. In fact, it is usually better to not react at all. This is the most professional option, and it is critical that you always act in a professional manner, especially if there is a chance that this could end up in court. If you let your anger and emotions get in the way of things, you will be a lot more likely to do something that you really regret. Ideally, give yourself a few hours or a couple of days to cool off. Then you will be able to consider your next course of action with a level head. This will also give you time to discuss the matter with your team. Does everyone else think that this other individual or organization has stolen your idea or work? After all, we can often be quite precious about the work and ideas that we come up with, so there is a slight chance that you might be overreacting here. If not, and they all agree that it looks like your idea has clearly been stolen, then you will need to move onto the next steps to get things sorted.
Have They Used Your Idea Or Content?
Next you need to consider a very important point: have they used your idea or your content? At the end of the day, it can sometimes be very difficult to protect and copyright an idea. Some ideas are so old and they simply get passed down from generation to generation, and businesses simply put their own take on them. Do you think this is the kind of idea that you had? In that case, there’s a good chance that you were in fact using an age-old idea. If this is the case, you need to get real and understand that you don’t actually own your idea. Others are free to use it too. However, if someone has been using your content or other kind of work, then there is something you can do about it. It is much easier to protect and copyright content, branding, and design, so if there is something concrete that the individual or business has copied, then you will be well within your right to take action against them.
Ask For Attribution Or A Credit
When you are sure that they are using your work, you should contact them and let them know that they are actually using your content or work. If they were not aware that what they had created was so closely influenced by your work, then they might stop using it and apologize. Alternatively, you might say they can continue to use it as long as they attribute or credit it to you and your business.
Consider Taking Them To Court
Are they refusing to give you credit for the work? If so, you need to see a lawyer who specializes in copyright law to see if you have a strong enough case to take them to court. When you do go to court, you are fighting to stop them using your idea and work, and to also claim some compensation for it as well.
You shouldn’t just watch another organization use all of your great ideas and designs. Make sure you stand up for yourself and fight for your own ideas so that no one else profits from your work.