Do I have any ownership of this idea?

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Do I have any ownership of this idea?

I have an idea to improve the state owned/run EZ Pass app. My idea would make things easier for the consumer by allowing them to pay their tolls on their phone using the app. I wrote down in as much detail as I could everything I could think of involved in the app extension. I then mailed it to myself after making a copy. So I have a poor man’s patent on it. Do I actually have any ownership of this idea when they own the app or is it a waste of time and I should focus on other ideas I have?

Asked on September 11, 2019 under Business Law, Maine

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

You can't claim ownership of ideas: the law doesn't let you. You can claim ownership of physical inventions (patents), software and apps (either patent or copyright), certain highly detailed industrial, scientific, medical processes (but they must be highly detailed and ready to implement; by patent), original textual, graphic, sculptural, etc. works (copyright), or images or words used to identify a business or product/service (trade mark or trade name),  but not just ideas.
What you describe would require you coding the app to be able to protect it.


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