Q: What are the first steps in protecting a concept for/of a new business? Does it involve patents or copyright?
Might not be a patent. The Supreme Court has recently made it fairly difficult to patent a method of organizing human activity. See the documents used to train patent examiners -- https://www.uspto.gov/patent/laws-and-regulations/examination-policy/subject-matter-eligibility On the other hand, if you find that you need to modify the off-the-shelf components to make your business work, you might be in position where a patent makes sense.
To approach this from a high level, here are slides that I use to teach entrepreneurs about identifying and protecting their competitive edge. http://bit.ly/Protecting_Advantages
If you wonder whether ideas like your idea are still getting patents, you can do some searching using the pointers in this second slide set -- http://bit.ly/Patent_Searching.
To get some educated but impartial advice you may want to consult with the Wisconsin SBDC https://sbdc.wisc.edu/ .
If you found this answer helpful, you may want to look at my answers to other questions about patent law are available at the bottom of my profile page at
Kevin E Flynn
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