Patent an idea! It will help you in keeping your business and its associated ideas exclusively for you.
Are we talking about a logo of your business, or have you designed a new product to include in your product line? And it is not about these two aspects only. Everything that is unique or new to this world can be used by others illegally. How do you expect to prove that a particular idea or products were yours? Well, it is a difficult question to answer for the people who are new in the business. And we can help you in getting through this process. So, that you can know how to save your idea and keep its rights limited to you or your business only.
In this article, we’ll focus on discussing some way through which you prevent someone from stealing your idea. However, one thing that we must discuss before we proceed further is that the risk of getting your idea copied should not restrict you from indulging yourself in creative and innovative ideas. You should keep thinking out of the box, and you’ll definitely get the credit for what you do. Even if you can’t see the impact immediately, you should believe that you’ll be seeing it in the near future.
Ways to prevent others from stealing your ideas:
Here are some of the ways through which you can make sure that no one else gets the entitlement to your ideas:
1. Register them with a recognized institute:
The first and foremost thing that you should do for the protection of the idea is to get it registered with the authorized institute. If you have ensured that your idea is listed with your name with authority, then there is no way that someone else can use it. Even if someone dares to do so, you’ll be legally protected. This will enable you to get help from the state institutions.
The registration of your logo and product cannot be known as a patent alone. There are different names and concepts behind different things that you can have in your name. We’ll be highlighting patents, trademarks, and copyright here to clarify the difference between them and to help you understand which of your ideas fails in which of these categories.
It is not necessary that you’ll be using only one of these registration techniques for a single idea. The actual need for these can vary and depend on the nature of the idea that you have. For example, if you are starting a new business with a unique product, then its logo, the idea of the product, and the name of the brand can actually be registered under different types.
a. Patent an idea:
The patent is the registration of your products, innovation, and new designs. After getting the patent, you have the right to use, make, or sell the product and excluding others from any such authority over your idea.
Patents are usually issues for a particular time period. Once the patent of an idea expires, anyone with a reasonable understanding of the product or design can use it.
Additionally, for the acquisition of patent, you’ll have to disclose all the information about the idea to the authorities. Once the authorities would be satisfied, only then you can get your patent of an idea.
Copyrights work in situations where the artistic nature of work is involved. Whether it is a design, logo, or anything in writing, you can have the copyright. The copyrights ensure that the rights of the work published would remain with the original owner. The owner has the right to permit or restrict others from using the product.
The trademarks can be considered as getting patent for an idea, brand name, and other thing associated with a particular company. The purpose of the trademark is to prevent the impersonators from cheating your customers in any way. They can’t use any of the products, symbols, or logos that you have the right to.
2. Keep a strong check during the planning and development stage:
The first step that we have discussed above is to make sure that you have the legal right for your product. But you can only exercise that right in situations when you manage to get to the registering authority first. What is someone else patent your idea? How are you going to prove that you are the original owner? Unfortunately, there is no legal way for this.
This is why it is imperative that in the planning and development stage, no one outside the company or some credible people get the news. A strong check on the employers dealing with the idea can be one of the ways through which you can ensure that your idea remains yours.
3. Arrange non-disclosure agreement for the people who know about your idea:
You won’t like anyone from your team to share your idea with others. So, for that, the non-disclosure agreements are the best way. You should arrange them with a lawyer and get them signed from all the people involved. The entrance into such an agreement will again provide you with legal protection to patent an idea.
4. Get the non-compete agreement signed as well:
You should make sure that the employees or the other people that you are working with should sign the non-compete agreement as well. According to this agreement, the people working on the idea won’t be able to recreate it for themselves or anyone else. Thus, in the future, if your employees would leave your company, you won’t have to face the risk of generating competing products.
Additionally, another reason to get the non-disclosure and non-compete agreement signed is that if you won’t take this step, then any of the product or idea that an employee of your company would generate would be his or her. He or she can easily walk away with that without facing any legal action because the people creating a product or coming with a new idea are the actual owners of it. So, to make sure that their ideas are the ownership of your company, you need these documents.
5. Try to have a background check for the people who are working for you:
Whether you are working with your employees or investors, it would be better if you can go for a complete background check for all of them. By background check, we mean any public accusations about patent idea issues and their past dealings with the others. This will help you in analyzing the risk associated with working with them. And you’ll be able to make an informed decision if you really need to continue with such dealing or not.
6. Invest in ideas that are difficult to copy:
Another good approach that you can use to patent the idea is to work on the ideas that aren’t very easy to copy. Some of the ideas might require high investment in production, should be given preference because they would create high barriers to entry. And as a result, there would be lesser chances that your idea would be stolen by anyone.
When you have designed a product of your own or have hired someone to create you a logo or design, it is essential that you follow some steps to ensure that your idea is not stolen. Patent of an idea, copyright, and trademarks are the main ways through which you can get legal protection. Similarly, getting the non-disclosure and non-competing agreements signed can also be beneficial.
To be extra secure, you can also go for background checks of the people who work with you. All these steps will ensure that your business or product idea or other intangible assets remain protected.
In some situations, there can be a risk that despite following these steps, your idea can fly away, but rest assured that the people stealing an idea won’t be able to generate any significant benefit from it. Because you are the mastermind behind it, and only you can use it in the best possible way.
“The strength of a patent doesn’t come from its claims, it comes from the invention” ― Kalyan C. Kankanala