Devon & Associates | Marcia A. Devon
Your web site design might be protected by copyright or possibly patent and copyright. It depends on exactly what your concept or design is. An experienced intellectual property (patents, copyrights & trademarks) attorney can help you determine how best to protect your design. I have a form/document entitled "Inventor's Testimonial & Advice to Clients" which assists the inventor in documenting his invention and his inventive process which is critical if there is a dispute over who the first inventor is. You can obtain the form/document from my web site www.devonlaw.com by clicking on "patent" and then on "download new client patent form".
Answer Applies to: California
The Law Offices of Mark Trenner | Mark Trenner
Patents protect inventions - a new and useful process, machine, or improvement. A website may include "back-end" functionality that could be protected with a patent. It is always best to work with a patent attorney if there might be a patentable invention. Failure to take action and timely file a patent application could result in a loss of some or all rights to the invention. So at least talk to a patent attorney on the phone or in person to describe your invention in more detail and ask whether it might be something that can be protected by a patent. If the subject matter is not appropriate for patent protection, the patent attorney will tell you so before you get started. The patent attorney may also be able to recommend other types of intellectual property protection, such as trade secret or copyright protection. Some patent attorneys offer free consultations, so there is little to lose by talking to a patent attorney - but a lot to lose by not talking to a patent attorney.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
Yes. Ideas are not patentable. Patents cover useful tangible inventions. If you operate a web site you may need to license patents held by others. Further, you need to retain counsel to conduct a prior art search and give you an opinion on whether you invention is obvious or otherwise unpatentable. Just because you have not found a web site with your idea does not mean it is not covered by or made obvious by prior art. Anyone who operates a web site should retain patent/ip counsel.
Answer Applies to: New York