Ideas are the key to innovation and success in most industries. Everything starts with an idea: the computer, the smartphone, the social media platform. They all started with an idea that someone brought to life.
Even when things are just building blocks or changing something that already exists, they have their basis in groundbreaking ideas. Not everything is a brand-new invention. Sometimes, it's just a brand new way of thinking about something that's already in use. It changes the game for consumers and companies alike.
Experts warn that people with great ideas need to be very careful to protect them. They note that the competition for these types of ideas is tough, and many people are willing to steal them if they can. This sometimes happens when employees have ideas, for instance, and then a supervisor takes them without crediting the employee.
But what if you already put the idea into action? Maybe you started an entire company around it.
Don't assume that means your intellectual property is safe. People will do many things for money, and that includes stealing ideas that belong to you. They don't think of it as theft in the same way they would if they stole money or physical assets, but it is the same. Those ideas, blueprints, plans and other types of intellectual property are worth an incredible amount of money. They're still stealing those assets, and you can suffer dramatic losses because of it.
If this happens to you, make sure you are well aware of all of the legal options you have to protect your ideas and your future.