You have a great idea for a product-you want to show industry experts and raise money to get it produced-but you don’t want your idea stolen. A patent would protect your idea but they cost a lot of time and money to get-are there any other options? YES. Follow these steps to protect your idea and get your product into the market.
Do your research. Before you begin working with anyone new, be it an individual or organization, do some research online. Do they have a good track record? Can you find any complaints about their business practices? Try to get a sense of what they’re all about. If you find cause for concern, consider asking about it. As we all know, not everything you find online is true. But if their business practices seem sketchy before you’ve even begun to work with them, that’s not a good sign.
Use these three legal tools — with the help and oversight of an attorney:
- Non-disclosure agreement (NDA): Have anyone you work with sign a non-disclosure agreement that commits them to confidentiality. An NDA can be a mutual agreement between two parties not to share information with third parties, or it can go one-way (since you’re sharing information about your idea with them). If the agreement doesn’t have an expiration date, that’s powerful.
- Non-compete agreement: If you hire someone to help you, have him or her sign a non-compete agreement. A non-compete agreement prevents an individual or entity from starting a business that would compete or threaten yours within an established radius.
- Work-for-hire agreement: If you hire someone to help fine-tune your product, make sure to establish that you own any and all improvements made to the idea. Anything they come up with, you own. You will still need to list the person who came up with improvements as a co-inventor in your patent, but they will have no rights to your invention.
Turn to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for help. Fortunately, patents aren’t the only tools available to protect our ideas. First, file a provisional patent application. You can do this yourself online or use a template such as Invent + Patent System or Patent Wizard to help you. The USPTO also has call centers available with staff members on hand to answer questions and offer guidance.
These tips will make it harder for others to steal your idea. With any legal document, be sure to consult an attorney to guarantee accuracy and protection of your idea.
For more tips go to: Entrepreneur
Kate's a practicing Attorney for over 20 years. She is a pet rescuer and a strong supporter of pets Rights. Kate expertise is Real Estate, Probate, Estate Planning, Personal Injury, and Business contracts. Kate is happy to discuss any legal or pet matter you may have and if she cannot help; she is more than happy to point you in the right direction. Kate Forte 17 Good Hill Rd Woodbury Ct 06798 Office 203-598-8847 Fax 203-841-1116