Imagine that you have thought of an amazing marketable invention idea. What is your next step? You are now faced with a lot of questions and dilemmas. To make any profit out of the invention, you must license this invention to a business that is often a distributor or manufacturer who will invest in advertising, selling, and mass-producing. But there is a risk when pitching your invention that it might get stolen or no longer be protected by any laws. In other words, the company to which you are pitching your invention could steal it without paying you a dime.
So how can you sell your idea without the risk of losing your rights? To protect your invention, people often consider these two common strategies. You can either file a provisional patent application, or you can use a nondisclosure agreement.
To learn more about these two strategies to keep your invention and idea protected from theft, then make sure you read our short guide.
File a patent application
If your idea qualifies for a patent, then it is a smart idea to file a provisional patent application and obtain a status of “patent pending. Usually, this kind of move will discourage all infringers, because they will see that you know what you are doing when it comes to protecting your inventions’ rights.
If you realize that your invention idea is probably not patentable, the best way to protect yourself is to have licensees sign an NDA (nondisclosure agreement) before you show them your invention idea. This document may also be called a confidentiality agreement, but it is usually the same thing.
This kind of agreement must be first signed before you meet with the interested licensee or buyer and before you reveal any of your secrets about your new invention. If someone signs your nondisclosure agreement and later abuses your secrets without permission, you can sue the infringer for damages. The NDA contract is not a joke, and if the company breaches this kind of agreement, you can seek contractual damages and liability.
Nondisclosure agreements, typically contain one of these important features:
• Responsibilities of the party receiving this confidential information
• A definition of which part of the information is confidential or not
• Time periods of the agreement
If you have an invention idea which you believe in and you are sure it is going to be a marketable success, then check this if you want to see your invention come to life.
Defining the confidential information.
All nondisclosure agreements provide a definition on which of the information listed is confidential. Any information which is discovered before signing the NDA does not have to be protected by the receiving party. This means that not every single piece of information during your pitch will be protected; only parts of the information that were specified in the nondisclosure agreement.
This is an important factor of the NDA which specifies how long the confidential information must be kept confidential by the receiving party. This is usually done with negotiation since receiving parties will want a short period of time while disclosing parties will want as much time as possible.
If you are planning to pitch your idea to potential buyers, then make sure you keep our guide in mind and keep your invention protected.