If someone admits to stealing your idea, can you sue them?

My answer to If someone admits to stealing your idea, can you sue them?

Answer by Raad Ahmed:

The answer to this questions depends on what was taken from you and what obligations the individual had to you when the idea was taken.

Misappropriating protected intellectual property is actionable in court under Federal intellectual property law. For example, you have a patented design, a trademarked logo or any other registered piece of intellectual property a person whether it is your business partner, an employee, contractor a competitor or a stranger takes your idea and knocks it off and uses it for his her own commercial purposes this is actionable in court and can entitle the individual bringing a claim to damages if it is found that the defendant infringed on your protected intellectual property.

If your idea is taken by an employee who has signed a non compete agreement or a non disclosure agreement regardless of whether the idea was protected intellectual property an aggrieved person may bring a claim for breach of these agreements.

However it is important to note that ideas that are not protected that are held out to the public are frequently knocked off with not legal consequences. For example you post your great new idea for a dog leash for funding on Kickstarter without IP protection and someone takes your idea you are really left with no recourse.

The question is not whether you can sue it will be successful in your claim against the individual who appropriated your idea.

LawTrades offers a variety of attorneys well-versed in a number of business law areas including intellectual property and business agreements that can consult with on-demand. Our process is simple: 1) tell us what you need, 2) connect with a lawyer, 3) pay an affordable flat-fee at the end.

Hope that helps!

If someone admits to stealing your idea, can you sue them?

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