Ideas can be immensely valuable, but unless you take steps to ensure that your concept for a cutting-edge invention is well protected, then it could be easy pickings for unscrupulous third parties.
But what are the steps you can take to prevent someone else taking your invention? Here are the options that are available to anyone with a game-changing plan for a next-gen product.
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Keep It to Yourself
This may seem obvious, but it is something that a lot of people overlook when they come up with an invention. It can be tempting to let the excitement overwhelm you and tell everyone you know, but this is the fastest way for the concept to spread further afield and potentially end up in the hands of someone who is willing to action it before you can get it off the ground yourself.
It pays to be cagey with details even when pitching your product. You should learn more about marketing your invention in an effective manner that does not give potential rivals the opportunity to steal it from under your nose following a presentation or meeting.
Store It Securely
As your invention takes shape, you may begin generating a lot of information that explains the ins and outs of its design, features and functions. If this data is not properly protected, it could leak out and be scrutinized by anyone with an Internet connection.
Penetration testing can help with this, as it will let you determine whether the data security measures you are deploying are adequate. This article provides more information about the practices involved in penetration testing, but in short it should let you know whether you are susceptible to suffering from one of the billions of cyber attacks that occur each year.
Start the Patenting Process and Register Your Trademark
Although patenting your invention fully can take time, you can still get provisional coverage from the USPTO and then take things further once additional development has occurred.
It is also sensible to register a trademark the name of your business or the name for the product you are looking to create if you have one. This should put you on firmer ground if you ever need to challenge any third party that you believe is using confusing trademarks further down the line.
Getting partners, employees, consultants, and contractors to sign non-disclosure agreements is also a worthwhile step at this point. This will remove any ambiguity about what they are and are not allowed to say about the work they do with you. Then if they breach this agreement, you have legal rights to enforce.
Do Your Research
Diving into the process of marketing and developing your invention idea without checking to see whether you are engaging with reputable individuals and organizations can be recipe for disaster.
Instead, it is better to take your time, do your research and find out whether any prospective partners have a history of upholding their end of any bargain. Often a quick web search is enough to get to the bottom of this issue.