So what to do? Get good legal help, somebody who really knows the area and somebody you can trust, and have them help you build whatever walls are possible--whatever you can do to protect your know-how and all. But in the meantime, build a business.
Tim Berry is the chairman of Eugene, Ore.-Palo Alto Software, which produces business-planning software. He founded Bplans.com and wrote The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, published by Entrepreneur Press. Berry is also a co-founder of HavePresence.com, a leader in a local angel-investment group and a judge of international business-plan competitions.