Posted in Startup
Doing something that’s never done before, requires a lot of hard work and dedication. If you consider your idea to be brilliant, it is natural that you will want to share it with the world. However, this is where you might be in danger. We recommend not to go into details with everyone you know, or your idea can be stolen, along with any potential profit. Believe it or not, your friends and relatives are also on the list of people you need to be leery about. So is there any way that you can share your thoughts with people around you, and still remain protected? Of course, there are several, but the best of them all would probably be patenting.
Sure, you can take on a different route, keeping your ideas to yourself until it’s time to release the product to the world. Still, if you decide for this strategy, you will lose the initial feedback, which can be of utmost importance. Don’t get discouraged if people around you don’t believe in your idea. If you are persistent enough, and believe in yourself, it will pan out, sooner or later. Here are the necessary steps you need to go through in order to create a quality app:
- Present Your Concept
The idea is nothing more than a dream, until you put it into words and explain your plan of action. It is always recommended to gather a team of people around you, as each individual might bring something unique to the project. Having an extra pair of eyes and someone with a different perspective never hurts.
After all of the rough edges are smoothed out, it is time to bring in experts who will evaluate the potential behind your project. Remember, they are called experts for a reason, so hear them out. However, always do your best to explain your intentions. This might affect their opinion greatly.
- Creation And Distribution
After creating a few beta versions and removing all the kinks, you will be ready to release your app. Don’t neglect marketing, as it can be the determining factor for your success. Explore the best ways to reach your customers, and create a detailed distribution plan. By now, you’ve probably realized that there are going to be a lot of people involved in building your app. Each of them presents a potential threat, as they can steal parts of your ideas for their own creations. As we mentioned before, patent prevents them from doing such a thing, but acquiring one can be quite an expensive adventure, and you can spend years in waiting for it to happen. The market is always very competitive, and it waits for no man, so you can lose your potential clients to someone with a similar idea. You need to capitalize on your ideas right away, but can you protect them without patenting? Here are some alternatives you can use to your advantage.
Make A Legal Agreement This is probably the best way to protect your ideas from being stolen without patenting your product. Your lawyer will explain the specifics, but there are three basic types:
- Non-Disclosure Agreement
To put it simply, by signing this agreement, both parties (employer and business associates) agree that neither side can share any of the details regarding the project with a third party. An expiration date can be set, but it would be best to sign indefinite one.
- Work-for-Hire Agreement
It oftentimes happens that a project has to be stopped because a certain technical problem just won’t go away. That is when companies can hire an expert who will work on it, and make it better. If both sides sign this agreement, they accept that the product and each individual segment belong to the company. This means that those experts won’t have the right to the invention, but the company will have to mention them as co-inventors when applying for a patent.
- Non-Compete Agreement
Individuals who have good ideas frequently decide to hire a certain company which will develop the product for them. This type of agreement protects them from gaining unwanted competition, as developers aren’t allowed to start their own business in the same radius. Apply For A Provisional Patent Application You might wonder what are the advantages of PPA. Well, the biggest one is the cost, which is only $100, and patent can cost up to a few thousand dollars, and that is excluding the legal fees. With PPA, the product is listed as „patent pending“, and is protected for a year. That is plenty of time for you to figure out your next step.
Trademark Your App
One of the first things consumers would like to know is whether your product has a trademark or not. It defines your product, and further strengthens your brand. Applying for a trademark is easy to do, and you can even do it online. Just know that it will set you back a few hundred dollars. Have A Deal With Your Competition Just because you work in the same field, it doesn’t mean that you need to become enemies. Having a mutual respect is important, as it can help you avoid harming each other’s business. If you stay in your lane, and they do the same, there is no reason why you cannot coexist. You can even work together to eliminate the third party.
Recap: If you have a potentially great idea, you might want to be careful who you’re sharing it with. Even if you have a complete trust in people around you, try to avoid talking about it when you aren’t in the privacy of your home or office. Still, sooner or later comes a time when it becomes inevitable to talk about your project with someone who isn’t in your inner circle. That is when you should sign one of the Non-Disclosure Agreements.
When you see that your project is beginning to take shape, you might want to apply for a provisional patent, and that will protect you for a year. Trademarking your app is also an important step you shouldn’t miss, as it will help you establish ownership. In case that you ran out of time, the best thing you can do is to apply for a patent. Just know that this could be a long process that can cost you a lot of money. However, it also gives you a maximum level of security, which means it’s worth it every cent.
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