Some people keep their cards close to their chest, not sharing their ideas, in fear of them being stolen by others. Some ideas need to be held closely to the breast. However, I have found that when I am keeping my ideas too close, that I make it difficult for serendipity to engage me.
Serendipity is that process whereby it seems that the universe is conspiring to assist you, where random conversations on the street and acquaintances met, which seem at first trivial, turn out to be defining moments in our stories and lives.
I like to speak about my ideas aloud. I am a passionate person and tend to communicate passionately about ideas I am enthusiastic about. People like to support passionate people, as passion is contagious. Passion is energy and people want to feel and be around such energy, as that energy has a way of rubbing off. Have an obscure passion? Appeal to those who share that passion and they will, likely, bend over backwards to help you…or they will steal your ideas.
There is an old saying that “imitation is the best form of flattery”. If you develop a good idea, count on it being taken and used by others. People are opportunists and everyone seems to be looking for the next “thing”. If you build a better mouse trap, expect it to be noticed, copied (if possible), re-branded and reproduced.
If your ideas are being imitated and your competition is watching you, seeking out clues from the work you generate, know that what you have created is likely of great value. People are not so likely to copy what you are doing, if what you are doing is valueless. In such moments, when it is obvious that my ideas or product are being copied, I strive to further clarify the ways what I am doing is unique and how my process is able to be separated from the herd. There is only one of you in all time. Make your expression as unique as you are…and get legal council. In the words of Teddy Roosevelt, “Speak softly and carry a big stick”.
How can we then protect our ideas? Well, there are legal structures that can assist, but ideas in and of themselves are hard to protect, as ideas are not tangible. Concrete, tangible forms, however, can be protected. So, the best way to protect your ideas is to manifest them, to build them. Take your ideas out of the ethereal, out of the intangible, out of your head and put them into the field of time and space. Concretize your ideas. Once this is done, they can be protected. Speak with your lawyer for advice.
At the end of the day, there is nothing new under the sun, truly. Any idea that you have, whatever it may be, can be dissected for its roots, its origins. Any idea that you can have or have had, has its foundation in someone else’s ideas. No person creates on an island, we are all products of stimuli. We are all inspired by others and, sometimes, inspire others. So the process goes, ad infinitum.