How to Protect Your Invention or Idea from Partner Theft
Imagine you put in years of hard work, sweat equity and occasionally tears to get an invention to the point you want to get a patent for it. Now, imagine that as you are preparing the paperwork, a firm you trusted as a partner starts to offer almost exactly the same product or even files a patent for your invention in their name.
To protect against that possibility, you must make sure your invention is protected from the outset. As you contemplate how to protect your invention following patent law in Philadelphia, make sure you have taken these steps to protect your idea and hard work.
Hire a Patent Lawyer First
If you have the invention and there are not employer issues associated with it, talk to a patent lawyer and get their advice on how to proceed. Strongly consider hiring them to help you through the patent process as it can be complicated and you want to make sure all your hard work is protected. They also can help you protect the invention or idea and aid you in the process of taking on someone who violates your patent or steals your invention or idea.
File a Provisional Patent Application
The moment your invention qualifies for a patent, it’s worth considering filing a provisional patent application. The cost for the entire process, including your time, not counting any lawyers, is minimal. The provisional patent application will deter most who might be prone to steal from you as it shows you are very serious about retaining the rights to your invention. It also sets the foundation for either a legal argument against a thief or a strong negotiating position in the case of infringement or theft.
Use a Nondisclosure Agreement
The easiest way to ensure theft isn’t an option is to have them sign a nondisclosure agreement. You should require anyone associated with the patent sign the agreement. That includes both actual and potential investors, partner or employees – anyone who has access to any of the intellectual property associated with your invention – before you show them anything related to your invention. Make it a stipulation – they sign or they don’t get access.
You can get a sample nondisclosure agreement from your patent law attorney.
Making sure your invention is protected before you reveal the details to anyone is critical to helping avoid even the temptation of theft. At least, these steps will pose a deterrence and with the nondisclosure agreement, some measure of legal protection. Talk with a lawyer that specializes in patent law in Philadelphia about these protections and how to set them up today!