Crowdfunding is starting to become the most popular way among budding entrepreneurs to raise money for their projects or business ideas. With no strict policies, deadlines or investors; and plenty of corwdfunding websites like Kickstarter and ProFounder, this method of raising funds online has become a rage of sorts. However, like so many other sites on the World Wide Web, crowdfunding sites are also vulnerable to hackers, copycats and competitors. And there are strong chances for a business idea to be stolen, misused or plagiarized completely. Which is why it is considered absolutely necessary to protect one’s ideas on these crowdfunding websites. Here are some ways that can be done.
Patent rights pertain to certain information not being accessible to investors and others visiting crowdfunding websites. A project user with a legal patent right for his project would find it easier to disclose certain information about the project to potential investors without worrying about his ideas being stolen or misused. This way, users can be rest assured that their projects cannot be used or sold by others visiting these crowdfunding websites.
A trademark is a unique identification given to a project and cannot be used by another project. When raising funds for their projects on crowdfunding websites, users would have to legally trademark their product (including its name, brand etc.) in order to prevent others from using the same names or brand identifiers. A trademark would also grant the user sole rights to use the specific brand/name in that jurisdiction.
It is possible to find a copyright in every picture, video or article that is seen on the web these days. A copyright is used to secure the originality of a particular content ranging from a text, blog or picture to graphics, music, website designs and even source codes. Even though it does not prevent the business idea from being used or copied, it would to an extent prevent the plagiarizing to an extent that a copyrighted text, picture, article or video cannot be copied and pasted somewhere else (in whole or in parts) without the users’ permission.
Revealing entire ideas, including business plans, pricing information, formulas and customer lists etc. on crowdfunding websites can potentially lead to plagiarism. Maintaining these as trade secrets can benefit entrepreneurs to a great extent.
Registering a particular piece of information as a trade secret would make it literally inaccessible to investors and other participants unless the user wishes to reveal it himself. For instance, registering a particular recipe as a trade secret would make it hard for the investors to gain access to the same unless the user wishes to let them in on the secret. This way, potential ideas and plans can be kept safe from prowlers and copycats, and be revealed only to genuine participants (which is also not advisable in most cases).