A lot of people online get frustrated when it seems that someone else has copied their idea for a business. It doesn’t matter how new you believe your idea is, someone is going to copy it, more likely than not.

You can protect particular parts of your business ideas. You can trademark your business name and/or logo. You can copyright the things you write for it. You may even have an idea that can be patented.

But your idea to sell left handed widgets to right handed consumers… you don’t own that, and if it’s a good idea, someone else is going to try it too.

There are very few truly unique ideas in business, and most of us don’t run anything remotely unique. There are tons of work at home sites out there. Tons of parenting blogs. Tons of review sites. Tons of sites giving advice good, bad and indifferent. You may do work that stands out from the rest, but you usually don’t own the very concept you’re working from.

This gets frustrating if you come up with something that stands out in your niche, and then competitors start running with your ideas too, with their own takes on it. It’s particularly frustrating if they’ve scarcely changed the idea at all. But unless they run things so close you can get them on copyright infringement, there’s probably not anything you can do about it.

What Can You Do When Your Ideas Are Stolen?

When someone takes your idea, there’s only so much you can do about it. If they’re a poor imitation of you, you should be able to outdo them on quality. If they’re good, there might be a way to work with them to mutual benefit. If they’re so close that customers can’t tell the difference, you need to make one. If you’re the more original thinker, you may be able to come up with something that will help you to stand out again.

If things are close enough to constitute copyright infringement, try filing a DMCA notice on them. This is great for those times someone directly takes your content without permission, and declines a polite request to remove it. If they ignore that, you can move on to their hosting company. Any time someone infringes on your copyright, trademark or patent, you have legal recourse. If they’re just doing something close to what you’re doing, they probably aren’t infringing.

Always remember that there’s more to business than just having great ideas. If you can’t market them successfully, it doesn’t matter how great your ideas are; hardly anyone will find them. When you come up with an idea, you know it better than any copycat. Do what you can to take advantage of that.