With the technological developments of instantaneous communication around the world through telephones, faxes, e-mails, texting and online messaging, it can be difficult to keep information private. Inventors and entrepreneurs run the constant risk of having their ideas stolen and copied. Maintaining rights to your intellectual works and inventions is important when developing new and potentially profitable ideas. Fortunately, there are several steps that you can take to protect your ideas from getting stolen.
Protecting Against Stolen Ideas
Keep an inventor’s notebook. Record all your thoughts, ideas, research and conversations in a bound notebook. Avoid using loose-leaf paper. It is important that you keep your ideas and actions in chronological order. Date each entry.
Have your inventor’s notebook witnessed and dated. Get the signatures of at least two witnesses to verify that the information you have collected is your sole property and to confirm the date of your work. This will verify when you established the idea if you come up against someone who is trying to steal your ideas.
Avoid discussing the idea with anyone who is untrustworthy, and do not post your ideas in a blog or anywhere on the Internet. If you must consult with someone about your idea, have him sign a nondisclosure agreement.
Investigate patents, trademarks and copyrights. Depending on the nature of your idea, one of these may be useful in keeping your idea legally safe. A patent protects inventions and designs; a trademark protects an identifying mark or logo for your company, product, or service; and a copyright protects intellectual works such as literary, musical and dramatic compositions.
Keep away from invention development and promotion scams. Consult with the Federal Trade Commission for information on these businesses and their reputability. Always read the fine print carefully on any document that you sign pertaining to your ideas.