Does your business have a new product it is considering designing and selling? This is a delicate time for the project, since you must protect it from exposure even before anything is complete. How can you protect your work and financial investment? Here are three of the most important ways to do this.
1. Nondisclosure Agreements. The first step in preventing an idea from being stolen by competitors or getting into the public domain is to ensure secrecy by those working on it. Carefully choose your team to include only those personnel that are essential to the project and trustworthy. These individuals should be asked to sign nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) that prevent them from speaking of the project. In return for an NDA, you will likely need to provide some kind of additional compensation.
2. Provisional Patent. The patent process can be long and detailed, so you may want to start with a provisional patent. This shortcut method has fewer requirements than the traditional patent application and is easier to obtain. It essentially reserves the final patent for your business for one year, giving you time to get the invention built and the specifics drawn up with less investment than a traditional patent application.
3. Implied Confidential Relationship. If you need to work with outside parties that won't sign a NDA, you may still have protection against unwanted publicity of the invention. An unwritten confidential relationship could be legally enforceable if it meets certain conditions. These generally include the outside party having been the one soliciting information, that you made your business plan clear to them, that you requested confidentiality before disclosure, and that your items are correctly classified as a trade secret.
4. Patent. Patents are the primary protection for any invention in the United States, and they are vital to ensure the success of a new product in the market. The patent allows you to stop anyone else from using elements like a unique manufacturing process, the product produced, or a significant improvement on a prior product. While the patent itself may take years to complete, your goods get much of the protection as soon as you submit an application.
The path to a successful launch for your new product line can be long and complicated. For the best results, consult with a company that specializes in invention-to-patent services as early in the project as possible. The extra effort to ensure secrecy and legal protection will be worth your while when the profits start adding up.
For more information, reach out to companies like Vallmar Studio.