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I work as a web developer and I've been toying with an idea for a while. Today I had an idea that would make my idea less expensive and more achieveable.

The problem is my idea would be easily reproduced by other developers of equal ability or better.

The only unique thing is the idea. Everything else already exists. It would involve combining things into an IOT type service for people to interact with when they come across it out doors.

Can such an idea be protected ?

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Probably, if you have a fully thought out concept to put the idea into practice. It is often said that one can’t patent an idea but that depends on how fleshed out the “idea” is in your conception.

First, get used to calling it an invention, not an idea. Almost all inventions involve combinations of known elements, possibly arranged in different relationships to each other than previously done. You might look in google patents for granted patents with relevant keywords. Initially this isn’t to see if your invention is new but to see examples of things in your field that did warrant a patent.

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In addition to the fine answer from George White, make sure if you do file a patent you try to conceive of alternative implementations. It is easy to get fixated on the one "best" way of implementing an invention. However, you should spend effort on thinking how someone might engineer around your implementation and try to get additional coverage for those implementations too.

A good patent attorney can help you think through such things and provide guidance on obtaining a broad, strong patent.

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