August 5, 2020 Last updated August 5th, 2020 634 Reads share

How to Stop Companies From Ripping off Your Idea

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

Times are changing. As with everything, you need to protect your company’s ability to do business. Is your invention protected from theft? Keep in mind that this has been done before; someone you pitch your idea to can turn around and steal it from you.

Many young entrepreneurs, you included, harbor a yearning to create something new. But the reality of developing a product, especially from scratch, is different from the picture you have at the top of your mind. You might be an excellent entrepreneur, but terrible at protecting your interests. The key takeaway from this guide is this; you need a lawyer by your side.

Know the Details, Inside and Out

To protect your idea, you need to describe it with great particularity. Do not wait to realize that words can and will be interpreted differently by different people. The problem comes when you provide a vague description of your invention and expect a thorough patent search for a provisional patent application. It is, of course, your right to keep everything to yourself, but this is a recipe for disaster.

You must describe your patent to the level of detail required by the law, not merely the level of description you think is appropriate. Take your time to find out everything about the structure of the components that make up your invention. Remember, you have to describe in detail any variations. With invention protection, the devil is in the details. If you supply a little information, your security will be worth a little.

Learn Everything You Can About Intellectual Property

If this is your first marketable idea, you are new to the intellectual game. Soon enough, you will discover that ideas are not protected the way you think. Don’t get it wrong; many companies respect, value, and appreciate the contributions independent inventors make in the economy. Most of these companies will want to work with you, with or without a patent on your invention.

Now let’s suppose a company wants to steal your idea, how would they do it? What is stopping a company from stealing your idea? If the law does not protect the product or service, they will steal it. The patent is supposed to give you recourse to sue. It would be best if you studied intellectual property laws. But ultimately, none of this matters if you do not have a lawyer to offer legal advice as a precaution.

Get a Lawyer

Because the barrier is set to high, only entrepreneurs backed by knowledgeable lawyers have a chance. The primary reason is tied to the paperwork that is required to protect an invention. The lawyer is not there to represent you in court, but to help you deal with unexpected legalities.

As an entrepreneur, you most likely teamed up with other people in multiple phrases to get your project off the ground. A lawyer can advise you on the myriad of essential documents that you need to have before you can reach an agreement about the ownership of the final product or service. The lawyer will ensure all the paperwork is complete, accurate, and securely stored and shared to ensure no one tampers with it.

So, what can you do to protect your product or service? Be smart, find a list of lawyers in your area, and get one to work with you in your journey. Having a lawyer is essential because it allows you to learn from them on various legalities and illegalities. Your entire business operation will be more efficient when you develop a smarter legal relationship with your co-developers.

Now it’s all about speed, the best thing to do with your invention is a license to a market leader. They can use their connections and relationships with the retailer to get what you invented on the market. But even with this approach, the best protection you can have is a lawyer by your side.

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA)

A well-drafted NDA will provide you with protection from violation of your intellectual property. It defines what confidential information is and what is not. Although NDAs are meant to build trust on the inventor’s side, they can sometimes give a different vibe to the investors. Besides, they are only useful for those who have the money to go to court.

The life of a startup is like a shooting star, burning bright before disappearing, so you need to work smart. A lawyer will help you strike a balance at the first meeting. You do not have to be too strong at your first pitch; your lawyer will help you change your pitch to keep you from oversharing. It is a good idea to involve a lawyer to minimize your risk of exposure.

File a Provisional Patent

Time will come to put your invention on the market. Speed to go to market is paramount. No doubt, filing a provisional patent is an absolute must. The strategic benefits of establishing perceived ownership of your product or service are numerous. However, there are so many questions to answer, let alone the homework to do.

A lawyer can help you make the determination when to move forward with this resource. To be clear, this decision lies entirely on you, but he/she helps you make the most of it. Your business lawyer will also help you gather all the critical information to file a valid patent. Even if you decide that you are going at it alone, there are compelling reasons you need one.

Your Take

Was this a moment of clarity for you? The beauty of pitching an idea is that it is the most critical moment in an entrepreneur’s professional life. Is your invention a bet worth taking? If you answered yes, you ran the risk of disclosing too much information that the invention might be stolen. Forget testing, marketability, even strategy, get a lawyer. The best thing you can do for yourself is to license your idea. Thank me later.

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