Are you stressing about how to protect your entrepreneurial creations, ideas, and inventions? Well, you should be!
You need to protect confidential information with a Confidentiality Agreement so you can get the help and guidance you need to make your product or app a success. You’ve come to the right place to protect your intellectual property, entrepreneurial creations, ideas, and inventions.
PLEASE NOTE: The information in this article should not be considered legal advice. We highly recommend that you connect with a patent lawyer for more info. A patent attorney will discuss your options and give you legal advice. If you are a partner of ours, we don’t provide patent services. However, we do have resources that can help you get patents done for a fraction of what it would cost you without these resources.
Changes in the Patent Laws
U.S. patent law used to say that the first person to invent something (not the first person to file) was the one that had the rights to that invention. Recent changes in patent law now say that the first person to file has the intellectual rights to that idea. The U.S. joined most of the rest of the world following the logic of the first one to get to the patent wins.
DON’T run to the patent office without reading this whole article and watching the video, though!
The answer might be that you DON’T GET A PATENT at all…we will explain why. Here are three ways you can protect your entrepreneurial creations.
Three Ways to Protect Entrepreneurial Creations
1. Skip the Patent and Create a Non-disclosure/Confidentiality Agreement Instead
It is perfectly fine to want to patent your idea, but there are a few things you need to know before taking that step.
Can you 100% say that your idea is manufacturable? If someone wants to challenge your patent and manages to prove that it can’t be manufactured – it could be overturned.
“It’s very unlikely for somebody who’s an inventor or an entrepreneur – that doesn’t have real deep experience in the manufacturing process – to invent something that a manufacturer can create.” – Fred Cary, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of IdeaPros
We strongly advise not to rush into getting a patent before you have a product that has gone through the Design & Engineering Phase and before the manufacturing process has started. When you are sure you have something that is manufacturable, go ahead, and file the patent protection.
In the meantime, you can protect your entrepreneurial creation & confidential information with a non-disclosure/confidentiality agreement. Everyone who works in product design and engineering industry is used to these agreements. You shouldn’t have a problem getting investors, angel groups graphic, engineers, or graphic designers to sign one.
When you decide to partner up with IdeaPros, you can view the confidentiality agreement right on our page and you get a personalized email committing to your idea’s confidentiality after submitting your idea. You are protected from the very beginning.
2. Don’t Talk About Your Idea Unless it Helps Your Business Grow
If you plan to do something with your idea, keep it to yourself. Share it only with the ones who need to know. The chances are slim that your friends or people you talk to on Uber or an airplane will have the inclination, experience, and motivation to run out and patent your idea.
Restrain from talking about your idea in this phase unless the person you are talking to might:
- have the funds or resources you need
- can add genuine value as a customer that needs your product
Again, have them sign a confidentiality agreement when possible.
You should, however, keep a notebook to memorialize your journey along the way. People that fund Kickstarter campaigns or buy beta products often connect with the inventor’s dream as much as they connect with the actual product they are buying.
“If there’s this great story about somebody just like me who took the time and effort, mortgaged their home and worked countless days and nights to come up with something. A lot of people are going to help and buy just because of that.” – Fred Cary
3. Get to Market Fast
Far more important than the patent is getting to market fast and being the best at what you do.
Even when you have a patent, that won’t protect you from people who want to copy your idea. The truth is, many entrepreneurs feel that a patent will help them sleep soundly at night. But in reality, if a big company decides to violate your patent, you will have to spend a lot of money to try to defend it.
Having a patent means you share with the world how your idea does what it does, which has its own consequences. Why do you think Coca-Cola hasn’t patented its recipe? No one can figure out the exact recipe of Coca-Cola because they have never published it and never will.
The good news is that you can file a provisional patent which costs only a few hundred dollars. Doing so will start the clock for you. The patent office doesn’t do an in-depth review of if your idea is manufacturable or not.
Keep in mind, a provisional patent only buys you a little time to work on the logistics of your idea. It gives you time to understand the process, to perfect your product, and allows you time to get ready for the market while being the first to have patented it.
On the other hand, filing a provisional patent before knowing whether something is manufacturable is dangerous. If you need to change something to your product to manufacture it, it won’t be protected anymore.
This is why the best strategy is to be patient. Talk to your partner whom you have signed the confidentiality agreement with and to prepare your product for the market in silence.
“Make sure you’re a real entrepreneur that’s going to do all the hard work to get this done because otherwise just forget about it and go to work tomorrow.” -Fred Cary
“Be true to yourself. When you have this great idea, understand it’s going to require sacrifice. It’s going to require money. It’s going to require time. And it’s going to disrupt your regular life.” Fred Cary
IdeaPros is a Super Venture Partner™ who has the resources, experience, and tools to help you at this step or any step in the entrepreneurial journey.
We partner with entrepreneurs at any stage and who are ready to invest in their idea. Apply for an interview and let’s explore partnering together.