The news that a U.K. court will force Apple to apologize again to rival Samsung for claims that the company copied Apple’s tablet device when creating the Samsung Galaxy raises the question of intellectual property rights again in small business. While it’s true that few small businesses worry much about patent issues, stealing ideas ranging from the content in your blog posts to the contents of information products, etc. can be a concern. On one hand, as we’ll see, attempts to control concepts or ideas unreasonably can stifle business development. On the other, if your intellectual property is your main product or service, you must do what you can to protect it. We look now at the balance every entrepreneur must strike.
The case of the petulant apology. The court drama following Apple’s claims against rival Samsung’s Galaxy tablet have become a kind of ongoing soap opera in the tech business field. For businesses of all kinds, the lesson is clear. Claiming a competitor stole your idea is an expensive and sometimes unsuccessful strategy when trying to come out ahead in the marketplace. You may want to focus your efforts on continuing to innovate instead. TechDirt
The marketplace of ideas. The marketplace of ideas is changing once more as controversial online figure Kim Dotcom announces the launch of his latest file sharing site. Dotcom and others like him are making the copying of content from popular music to any other form you can name easier than ever. If your business depends upon the safety of your unique content, it’s time to get a new plan. The Next Web
Do your best. No matter which side of the intellectual property debate you come down on, the most compelling argument against being over-protective of your ideas is that you may focus on this to the exclusion of creating great products and getting them into the hands of your customers. Ultimately this leads to bad business, Jeff Yablon says. It means you aren’t really doing the best work you can. The Answer Guy
To catch a thief. On the other side of the fence are businesses that play it far too fast and loose when copying from competitors’ Websites and other materials. In case there are any doubts in your mind about the difference between referring to someone else’s content and swiping it, Web design art director Chris London has this overview. Pixel Blog
Line in the sand. The rules of the information economy have become even more complicated, with the increase in content sharing and the trend toward “content curation.” However, the line between sharing content as part of the normal conversation between businesses and customers and stealing someone else’s ideas without giving credit is still pretty clear. Blogger Daniel Sharkov has this simple primer. Reviewz ‘n’ Tips
Protect your product. This post from blogger Cendrine Marrouat looks at a very specific concern among online entrepreneurs, the “scraping” of original content created especially for your site and copied (sometimes endlessly) on other fly-by-night Websites as cheap filler. This is often done without so much as a link back to your site or a reference giving you credit. “Scraping” can hurt online businesses in a variety of ways. Here are resources offering at least some protection. Creative Ramblings
Head into stealth mode. Startup expert Mike Abasov generally tells startups he advises not to get so uptight about the possibility of someone stealing their idea. Of course, as we’ve discussed, there are times when the phrase “keep it secret, keep it safe” might apply. There is a set of specific criteria which Anasov says justifies the “deep and dark” approach. Here are some thoughts about when going into stealth mode is advisable. Marketing Before Funding