Depending on what is at stake, there are several options available to protect business ideas from being stolen or copied by others. If you want to ensure that your business partners or employees do not misappropriate or share important business ideas or information with others, your best bet may be to create a non-disclosure or non-compete agreement that includes certain restrictive covenants in it. These restrictive covenants, if drafted reasonably, can protect important and/or proprietary information. These types of agreements help to ensure confidentiality among employees and other individuals associated with your business, and they also protect against their leaving your company to create a competing business nearby that utilizes your ideas.
If your business idea is revolutionary or has required extensive money and time on your part, you may wish to obtain intellectual property protection to protect business ideas. These are legal protections offered by the government and typically require a fee to obtain. The main forms of intellectual property in the U.S. are trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. If your idea, design, or trademark is complex or similar to those already registered by others, you may consider hiring an intellectual property attorney to help you navigate the patent, copyright, and/or trademark registration processes.