Coming up with a unique new business concept or product can be exciting, but if you don't protect your idea while you're building the business, you risk having the idea stolen by a competitor or even a potential investor. Here are some of the things that you should consider to protect your concepts while you're building your start-up business.
Be Selective About What You Say
The hardest part about protecting a new business idea is researching the market and finding investors without revealing too much about your concept. Don't share any more information about the idea than you have to when you're talking with anyone. Ask yourself how much each person really needs to know about the business before an agreement is in place, and avoid volunteering anything more than what's required.
As you start your market research, that's another avenue where you need to be selective about your information sharing. You don't have to explain the actual product or any development secrets in order to gauge interest. You can discuss your product conceptually or simply talk about what it's designed to do or what task it's intended to simplify.
Require a Non-Disclosure Agreement
If you're looking for financing or investors, you're going to have to reveal a lot more detail about the product. You might also have to do that for a focus group if you want more in-depth market research before you go into production. Luckily, there are ways to protect your concepts in these situations.
Talk with a corporate attorney like Strauss Troy about creating a non-disclosure agreement to help you protect your information. This agreement is a binding contract, and anyone who signs it is prohibited from revealing any information about the product or concept. Anyone you have to provide details to should sign one of these contracts before you discuss anything.
Consider Provisional Patents
Applying for patents can be a lengthy process, and it's often more expensive than a start-up can afford. If you want to have some patent protection for your idea while you're still getting things going, talk with your corporate attorney about provisional patents. Provisional patents will give you twelve months of patent protection for your concept.
Just remember that you can't renew a provisional patent, so you'll have to submit the full patent application before it expires. You'll need to supply flow charts, diagrams of the product and full details about the supplies and manufacturing for your application, so talk with a legal specialist for guidance when you fill it out.
Theft of intellectual property is difficult to prove, and harder to fight. Your best defense is a solid offensive approach. Make sure that you protect your business concept from the beginning. With the tips presented here, you can keep your concept secure while you explore your options for financing and full production.