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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3840
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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I need some help I have a system and idea that is unique. I

Customer Question

Hi, I need some help I have a system and idea that is unique. I would need to know what is needed to protect it. It is a excel based product that is used for my concept on marketing. What do I need to do? I have copywritten it like this: Copyright © 2016 Andrew Ford. All rights reserved
not sure if this is enough!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, Thank you for your question and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I will assist you. Have written code that attaches to the excel software?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, I have not written code. Only added to the excel sheet the copyright part. The excel is the base I keep it for now but plan to digitalize the concept when I have available funds. However, I want to brand this the '4detail marketing plan'. It is not just the excel which I provide but also the whole idea of tailored marketing plans to suit the industry.
Please also note, I will be selling through an agent. I plan to have an NDA in place which I have written up based on one I know that is working with my current employment. Just want to make sure I cover all areas for protection on this concept.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, Thank you. This would be protected by the law of copyright - copyright is the only intellectual property that does not require registration. You only need to prove that a) you have an original idea b) you authored the concept. Putting Copyright 2016 can help prove ownership but ultimately it is always a matter of fact. You could also put the materials onto a CD or USB and send it to your self by recorded/dated delivery. Leave the envelope sealed and it can be used as evidence if you had a court dispute.

Ultimately you have to be comfortable with what you can protect. Copyright never protects ideas, it will only protects the expression of the idea - so if you have an idea for a computer program for example the idea itself wont be protectable it will only be the expression of the that idea i.e the code.

If you enter into an NDA with the party that you are disclosing the idea to, that may force them to keep it confidential but that wont necessarily stop them developing the idea independently - they just would not be able to use any material use you create that are subject to copyright.

I look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards AJ

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi thanks. So what else can I do to protect myself other than copyright? I will send the details to myself via recorded delivery yes. But is there other way I can protect it and maybe the brand itself? Thanks Andy
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, Thank you. If you have a recognizable logo (that is unique) or name that can be attached to the good will and trading history of the product you could apply to have it registered as a Trade Mark. You may want to wait until you have traded the business to do this, in the mean time you will be protected by the law of "passing off" - but a trade mark is easier to register with a trading history.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok so to summarise, the copy right is a good start and correct as you have seen it, then I should send the file to myself in recorded delivery, get an NDA in place with my agent, Once I have sold a couple of these, register the trademark? Then all is covered as much as I can do? br Andy
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, Thank you. You have probably done as much as you can for now, but remember the following 1) Over time most confidential info gets into the public domain (especially if you are trading on it) and therefore will not remain confidential for ever 2) with the best will in the world if some one is intent on copying your idea and stealing your confidential info, they probably will, and you will have to sue them to protect it - essentially documentation cannot safe guard against someone who is ill intentioned. Kind regards AJ

Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.

Can I assist you any further with this? I would be most grateful for any feedback in the mean time? Kind regards AJ