Few moments are more exciting in business than coming up with that innovative idea, which could help you to capture a market and enjoy a healthy annual profit. Unfortunately, there could be people or corporations who want to tap into your invention or trade secrets for their own financial gain, if presented with the opportunity.
For this reason, you must read the six ways to protect your innovative idea from theft.
If you have developed an original idea for an industry, it is possible to protect it under copyright law. However, to file for a copyright, it must be an idea that no-one else has thought about and you must have expressed it to others or in the form of documentation, as it cannot be based on thought alone.
For example, you could file for copyright for your photography, an illustration, a literary piece, music, or website content. You can mark an original work using the copyright symbol, and it should also feature your name and the date. Plus, if you own the copyright, only you can license it or sell it to other individuals or organizations.
A patent is commonly used to protect unique inventions. As a result, you will have a right to embark on legal proceedings if a person or company attempts to sell or use your invention without permission.
Therefore, it can help a business to stand apart in a competitive industry, and it is imperative to file for a patent as soon as possible to avoid another individual patenting the same idea.
It is, however, important to note that the patent application process can be rather complex, which is why you should consult an experienced patent attorney, such as The Patent Professor, who offers a flat fee for their services.
To successfully protect your organization, you would be smart to secure a trademark, which can safeguard your company’s brand name and a product or service’s visual identity. If another company attempts to replicate your branding, you could undertake legal action. Once you have received a trademark, incorporate the trademark symbol into your branding to prevent others from copying your image.
However, your brand must be unique to effectively register a trademark, and you can trademark your wording, logo, color scheme, and company sounds. However, you cannot trademark offensive or misleading images or wording.
A Non-Disclosure Agreement
If you want to discuss your unique idea with potential business partners, employees, or focus group members, you can protect your company by requesting they sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before sharing any details. Many investors might, however, be reluctant to sign an NDA, as they will know they will have the power when it comes to a pitch. If this is the case, incorporate a confidentiality statement into your business plan.
Avoid Sharing Too Much
As a unique idea or concept will more than likely be close to your heart, only reveal details as and when you need to. For example, if you are pitching an idea to a potential investor, ensure you only provide enough details to convince them to inject a lump sum into your company. You do not need to reveal exactly how a product will work.
Instead, focus on how your new product will meet consumer demand and will fill a gap in the market. It is only necessary to make an exception if a potential investor or partner states they need to understand the inner workings of an idea. If you refuse, they could view your business as a financial risk and fail to invest in your organization.
Document Your Idea
If you haven’t applied for copyright, a patent, or a trademark, it is a smart move to save all documentation from its inception. Developing a paper trail will prove you came up with the original concept, which should work in your favor should a case go to court. For example, maintain a log of any and all discussions regarding your business idea, such as all emails and text messages.
Your business idea is sacred. If you fail to protect it, it could be vulnerable to theft, which could be detrimental to your image and revenue. It is crucial to embark on one of the above steps to protect your brand or product, which will ensure you can take legal action should someone aim to capitalize on your innovative concept.