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E-Commerce business model copyright

Seattle, WA |

I am interested in opening an e-commerce website that has similar concept as Amazon (but of course on a much smaller scale) and was curious to see if this business model/concept is copyrighted. Before I invest in this idea I would like to make sure I can't be sued later on for copyright/patent infringement. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you!

I am talking about online marketplace where buyers and sellers can be connected for a fee.

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Attorney answers 3


If you are talking about an online store, as you should know if you are entering this arena, there are countless online stores besides Amazon. You might benefit from taking a community college course in e commerce and one in web design. These course range from adult ed to serious study of the respective fields, and yet are still quite affordable. That will provide you with needed expertise and potentially save you from issues.

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What you are asking about is not necessarily a copyright (although you may be able to protect a website to some degree by registering a copyright) but more likely a business method patent. The best advice before investing in anything is to first invest in retaining an intellectual property attorney.


As noted above, prior to moving forward with any substantial business development you should discuss your ideas with a qualified business attorney in order to assess your risks and liabilities for your type of business. There are quite a few online retailers that have very similar business models/methods as Amazon and (depending on the details of your business) there's a good chance you wouldn't run into any patent infringement issues. Here's a brief "crash course on intellectual property" that you may find helpful:

Without additional information about your business, the design of your website, or how you plan to run your e-commerce business it's difficult to provide any further guidance. You should be aware that there are a number of legal issues the pertain to running an online business, each of which you should consult with an attorney to sort out.