The problem with business ideas is that they’re not really yours until you make them so. You can come up with the best idea in the world and yet be unable to take it to market unless you’re willing to risk losing it all in the process.
A lot of people assume that coming up with a great idea must also mean coming up with the legal protection needed to execute it as well, but that isn’t necessarily true at all. Here are some ideas on how you can protect your business ideas without losing them forever in the process!
Keep your ideas to yourself
In order to protect your business idea, you should keep it a secret. The best way is by not talking about it with anyone. If you do talk about your idea, make sure that you are vague enough so that someone cannot easily figure out what the idea is. You can also make an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) with someone where they agree not to share your idea or give away any details of the plan. Another way is to use patenting and copyrighting methods. These are for when you want to apply for intellectual property rights in order to stop other people from copying your idea and profiting off of it without giving credit back to you for inventing it in the first place. There are many ways for protecting ideas!
Write them down
- You can protect your business idea as soon as you come up with it. In fact, the best time is before you start spending any money on developing it because it will be easier for you to get a patent or trademark for your idea once it’s fully developed.
- Consider hiring a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property if you want more protection than just the paperwork. If you’re not sure what steps to take, ask an attorney how long they think it would take to register your idea and how much it would cost.
- Keep in mind that copyright only protects creative works so if you have an innovative product idea then a copyright might not cover everything that could happen with that idea . Keep everything confidential and don’t discuss your ideas until they’re ready to launch.
Get a patent
To protect your business idea, you can apply for a patent. A patent is a document that gives you the right to stop someone else from using, making, or selling your invention without your permission. Patents last for 20 years and can cost as little as $1,000. For more information on patents visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Know how to handle other’s copying: Another way to keep people from copying your ideas is by knowing how to handle it when it does happen .
Some methods are bringing legal action against the person who has copied your idea and sending them a cease-and-desist letter asking them to stop using it. If they don’t comply with this request then you may have grounds to take legal action against them.
Build a prototype
It’s important to protect your idea, even before it has the chance to be stolen. A prototype is a clear representation of what you’re planning on selling. It can either be a physical or digital representation of your idea and it’s one of the best ways to illustrate how your business will work.
If you want people to invest in your product, it’s important that they know what they’re investing in. Share your prototype with friends, family members and other stakeholders who are involved with your project so they have an understanding of what the final product will look like. By doing this, you’ll build up trust in yourself as well as in the value of your project because others will see what you have planned for them before you launch.
Get feedback from people you trust
It’s difficult to know how best to protect your business ideas. The first thing you should do is get feedback from people you trust. You can also take advantage of online resources, such as the USPTO website, which offers free and low-cost services for entrepreneurs like a provisional patent application.
There are many other sites that offer valuable information on protecting your business idea. A good place to start is Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ). As well as this, it’s always good practice to keep detailed records of all the research you’ve done in case they’re needed later on down the line.