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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48193
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I was working at a start up business who had a interesting

Customer Question

Hi,
I was working at a start up business who had a interesting idea for an app. Ultimately I left after a few months as I moved to another country. Can I start a rival business with the same company idea?
Thanks
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. To what extent had this idea evolved?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

It was at a stage where they had a number of investors and a number of staff. I was involved in the software engineering of one of the products as an independent contractor. I'm not sure if its relevant but I left the company around 2 months ago before I started the rival business.

There idea doesn't have anything patentable or copyright protectable that I'm aware. And it could be easily copied by anyone else.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
The main issue here would in relation to copyright. That is because copyright does not have to be registered anywhere and it is automatically given to the creator of an original literary piece, such as commercial documents, technical drawings, etc. So if the design of the app was undertaken by the company and they had an idea of how the app could work and this was unique information created by them then copyright is likely to exist regardless of whether it was registered anywhere. The idea itself may not be protected by copyright if it is not in tangible form. So the app may have been developed and copyrighted but the way it was to be developed further and released may not be. Some more detailed information on this can be found here: https://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/protect/p21_protecting_ideas If the situation does not fall within the examples given then it is unlikely to be protected under copyright and if nothing has been patented it would generally be free for use by others. I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

So the fact that we have tried to make it work and look as different as possible but retaining the same idea would mean it's likely to fall outside of the copyright?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Depends on what the 'idea' is - is it just the way it is applied and distributed for example, or is it more technical stuff, something which can be traced back to specific original creations by someone where technical details make up the information. For example, the 'idea' of an app to change your voice will not be subject to copyright. But the way it works technically, the way it is made to work and the technology behind it would be. Does this clarify a bit more?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? If your query has been dealt with please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. If you need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you.