Patent-Free Protection for Your Business Ideas

protect your intellectual property

Are you an entrepreneur that is scared that your new business idea will be stolen and along with it your dreams of starting your own business?  

No worries my entrepreneurial friend, continue reading and discover some of the best ways to protect your business idea and launch your new firm. None of these methods require applying nor getting a patent and paying for legal services. But they will help you protect your intellectual property.

You can’t keep your idea secret because you need to talk about your business to potential workers, investors, shareholders to plan your business launch. Also, you will want to take advantage of your industry mentors and business experts by discussing your product ideas and get their invaluable feedback.

While being issued a patent, either design or utility, is a great  way to secure your new idea, it is often unobtainable for entrepreneurs due to expensive legal fees and long delays and waiting periods for patent issuance.  Many entrepreneurs have tight startup budgets so they cannot get trademark registrations nor patents.

Bootstrapped entrepreneurs  may utilize these powerful, and cheap, tips to protect  intellectual property and get their brand new product launched safely.

Get to Know the Person First

Before you meet with prospective investors or producers take the opportunity to research them online. Enter their names and firm names, and read about their business deals and their personalities. Learn if they are reliable and have practiced business ethically.  You will get a good sense of the person and their character and if you want to work together or not, by analyzing their opinions, forum remarks and informative articles.

Get Competitors on Your Team

Believe it or not, your competitors might be your very best partner in protecting your business trade secrets – if you make them a part of your success group. Hire them as vendors or distributors so that they have a vested interest in keeping your ideas protected because they will also profit from your success. Existing businesses might be the ones most likely to steal your product ideas. But they could also take it to market faster with their existing contacts and resources.

Investors Are Your Safest Gamble

All  angel investors and venture capital firms are the safest places to discuss your ideas. Their  business reputation is at stake.  It’s very unlikely they’ll even consider the betrayal of stealing your business plans. If they took inventors creations, they would be out of business quickly. However, keep in mind that when you present your idea, someone else may have already shared a similar idea.

Use Non-Disclosure Agreements Very Carefully

A NDA or Non-Disclosure Agreement is the legal document used in these cases to maintain secrecy.  It is a contract between you as the owner of the intellectual property and the person whom you are telling. They agree not to disclose to anyone your idea or invention by signing the agreement. Be warned that many venture capitalists will refuse to sign an NDA.  And a  prospective business venture can be destroyed by you, the entrepreneur, being too paranoid. 

Don’t Tell Them Everything

When you talk about your new product creation don’t reveal every detail and creation process. Maintain a few essential facts on your own. In the startup phases of investment and discussion, complete disclosure isn’t necessary nor advisable. As you proceed to accepting investments or hiring employees, then is the time to use legal documents such as the NDA  to secure your trade secrets and business ideas legally.  This is how my Aunt Joan keeps her pound cake recipe a secret.  She always leaves out a key ingredient when she shares the recipe. No wonder my cake always turns out like a brick!

This guest post was authored by Marsha Kelly

Marsha Kelly sold her first business for more than a million dollars. She has shared hard-won experiences as a successful serial entrepreneur on her Best4Businesses blog . Marsha also regularly posts business tips, ideas, and suggestions as well as product reviews for business readers. As a serial entrepreneur, Marsha has learned what products and services really work well in business today. You can learn from her experiences to build your businesses and life financially.


Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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