It’s natural to be concerned with the thought of your idea being stolen. You want to protect your idea, but it is impossible to turn your dream into a reality without people’s help. This usually includes asking an industry expert to access your service, product, or business plan. Eventually, you will need to collaborate with a distributor or manufacturer.
But today, patents are too expensive and can take a long time. It can be a long time to wait for your product to come to market. Luckily, there are creative steps to secure your idea without using a patent. Below are four straightforward and affordable strategies to help you protect your small business idea from getting stolen;
1 – Perform your research
Before you start working with somebody new, perform various research online. Discover if they have an honest track record. Are there any ailments made on the business exercises regarding trade secrets? Try to get a sense of what they are also about. You can ask about any issue that you might find. For all you may know, not all things discovered online is real. It may not be a good sign if you happen to realize that their business practices are somehow unelaborated.Luckily, there are creative steps to secure your idea without using a #patent Click To Tweet
2 – Use these legal tools to protect your idea (with the help of an attorney)
- – The non-disclosure agreement: Have any person you work with sign a non-disclosure agreement that will commit them to confidentiality. NDA is an agreement between two parties not to go one way. The agreement is even more powerful if it does not have an end date.
- – The non-finished agreement: When you hire someone to help you, have them sign a non-finished agreement. The non-finished agreement hinders an entity or an individual from beginning a business that will compete with you.
- – The Work-for-hire agreement: When a person to helps make small adjustments on your product, make sure you own everything they discover. You still need to list the individual that identifies the developments as a co-founder in your patent, but they gain no rights to your discovery.
3 – Refer to the United States and the Trademark Office for help
Luckily, patents are not the only materials available to help you secure your ideas. First of all, you can file a provisional application for a patent. You can do this on your own online or even use a template like Patent Wizard or Invent + Patent System to assist you. The United States and the Trademark Office (USPTO) also has call centers available with staff members on hand.
The cost of filling out the PPA is around USD$150 dollars, as patents can be expensive depending on the complexity of your idea. The provisional patent application (PPA) secures your idea for about a year and permits you to tag your idea as a ‘patent pending.’ You can also use the year to get valuable insights into your design.
You should also consider applying for a trademark, that you can use online. It will approximately cost about $700 and aids you to create ownership. Since the names become equal with the products, having trademarks registered unites your idea to your product.
4 – Protect your idea by creating relationships
It might sound suboptimal, but building valuable relationships with your competitors is among the best methods to secure your idea. By giving competitors business, it’s not always seen as a threat but respect.
If you follow these tips to protect your idea, it will make it harder for people to steal your intellectual property. With the power of the legal document, be sure to refer to a lawyer to ensure accuracy and security for your idea.