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Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsSeptember 4, 2007

Is there any way to protect a business idea while testing it?

Ideas are generally not covered by intellectual property laws until there is some actual expression of the idea. Although a "provisional patent" can be obtained before the idea is fully implemented, this would still require progress beyond the mere idea. The usual way to protect your idea is to
prepare a document known as a "Non-Disclosure/Non-Competition Agreement," which should be signed by anyone having access to the idea during the design and testing phases. You should consult an attorney familiar with these transactions to prepare the proper documentation.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq. is an award-winning New York City attorney, edutainer and author. Under her Ask The Business Lawyer brand, she reaches thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners with her legal services, professional speaking, information products, and LexAppeal weekly ezine. She also writes the Making It Legal blog.

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