Your business ideas are valuable – they are what make you money and what set you apart from your competitors. So it is important to protect your business ideas. How you do that depends on the nature of your ideas. For ideas that are in the public domain, the most common types of legal protections include copyrights and patents. A copyright prevents others from copying your work. It is usually used for work that enters the public domain such as a book, a movie or software that others will be able to access but that you want to retain complete control over. A patent grants the inventor exclusive right to make, use and sell an item. Business ideas that do not enter the public domain can also be protected. Many times businesses enter confidentiality agreements with their employees, investors and business partners to prevent valuable business ideas from becoming public. When you obtain a copyright, file for a patent or execute a confidentiality agreement you can be confident that you have legal protection for your business ideas.