First, a technical solution to a technical problem can be protected. This type of idea is commonly known as an invention or inventions and is protected by a patent. Patents can be of different kinds. Of course, patents can protect a product, but also industrial processes and specific uses of known inventions.
Second, the external appearance of a product can be protected. The external appearance is one that visually captures the consumer of the product and is protected by industrial design. The industrial design does not protect the operation of the product but simply its external form. Appearance can be the sum of shape, colors, and texture.
Third, you can protect the name by which you identify a product or service. This type of protection is known as a brand.
Fourth and last, the expression of an idea can be protected. This type of protection is intellectual property or copyright. This type of record does not protect the idea itself but simply the expression of that idea.
If you have been attentive to the explanation you can conclude that none of the detailed protections protects a business idea, and you will be right. The current legislation does not provide protection for business ideas. Consequently, anyone can legally copy the business idea of a third party.
To qualify this powerful statement, it is worth explaining that, although business ideas are not protectable as such, there are certain elements of business ideas that are protectable.
If the person who has had the business idea decides to protect the protectable elements, they will most likely be able to block their competition to some extent.
The best protection is undoubtedly the patent. The patent protects inventions. The scope of the invention is established in the wording of the patent, making it possible to protect an invention in a very generic way as long as a series of requirements are met.
Patent law states that for an invention to be patentable it must be new worldwide. Novelty exists when the invention has not been disclosed identically anywhere in the world. The invention must also have an inventive step. It is not valid to slightly modify an already known invention in order to patent such modification.
The differences between the invention to be patented and the closest known invention should not be obvious to a person skilled in the art. And finally, the invention must be industrialized or applicable in industry. This last requirement prevents abstract theories from being patented, or inventions that go against physical norms; that is impossible inventions.
When a person or a company has developed an invention and, after investigating the state of the art, considers that the invention meets the requirements of novelty, inventive step and industrial application, it generally initiates the procedures to protect its invention as a patent. It must be remembered that if said person or company decides to sell or display his invention before patenting it, he will not be able to patent it later on as it is not new at the time it is requested.
The documentation required to apply for a patent may seem straightforward at first glance. It is simply required a descriptive memory where the invention is explained, some claims where the desired protection is specifically established, some drawings of the invention, and a request with the data of the owner and inventors. The problem is that a bad wording of the memory or in the claims strongly affects the protection that the patent will grant.
Given the difficulty of the subject and the importance of good protection for the business, there are professionals in the drafting and processing of patents. Professionals like InventHelp, could help you and make this entire process much easier. You can visit their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/inventhelp/ and if you want to learn how they can help you patent your idea or product, then you must read this article here: https://www.jpost.com/special-content/get-your-invention-off-the-ground-with-the-support-of-inventhelp-624132.
Once all the documentation is prepared, it must be deposited with the Patent and Trademark Office in your country, which will immediately issue an application receipt that will be the document that establishes the starting point of the patent rights. From the date of application, the invention can already be disclosed without the risk of affecting the patent process. In practice, once the patent is filed, the person or company that has developed the invention begins to present the invention to potential customers, suppliers, investors.
Patents, industrial designs, and trademarks are properties and as such can be directly exploited, sold, or rented. Industrial property-based businesses are becoming more common. As an example, in the electronic devices sector where users demand the latest technology, the patent license is recurring in order to be able to offer the latest technology to its users without the risk of infringing the patent rights of the creator of said technology.
In conclusion, patenting a business idea is not possible, but it is possible to patent elements of such business ideas by registering patents, industrial designs and trademarks. These registers are entry barriers that to a certain extent prevent the business idea from being copied and consequently they are very important assets as well as very valuable in economic terms for their owners and investors.