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Protect Your Idea Without A Patent

You may have an idea that you want to protect without going through the patent process.

Patenting an idea is a way to get legal protection, however, it can be expensive to do so.  Also, one of the drawbacks to patenting an idea is that you have to reveal how it works.  Items that are patented becomes public knowledge and available to the whole world to see.

These are ways you can go about protecting your idea without a patent.

Establish Ownership:

The first thing you need to do is establish ownership of the idea.  If you're the only person that came up with the idea that's good.  But, if you worked with others to come up with the idea then you have an additional requirement to document who the other owners are. 

Document who came up with the idea with a memo and have all the relevant parties sign it.  Make a copy and secure the original and the copy in different places under lock and key.  Mail it to yourself so that you have a legal sealed document with a time stamp that could hold up in court.

Keep It Secret (Trade Secret):

Don't let anyone know that you have this great idea.  Don't talk about it.  Don't share it with anyone, that includes friends and family members. 

Use Non-Disclosure Agreements:

If you're not the only one who knows of the idea you will need to use a Non-Disclosure Agreement to keep anyone with knowledge of the idea from revealing it without legal penalties.  If you have to work with a manufacturer to get the idea develop a Non-Disclosure Agreement should also be used.  Visit the Legal Forms section to find Non-Disclosure Agreement forms.

Non-Compete Agreements:

Use Non-Compete Agreements to keep anyone with knowledge of the idea from starting a competing business based on the same idea.  Non-Disclosure Agreements are good for the time specified in the agreement.  This could be 2-5 years.  Visit the Legal Forms section to find Non-Compete Agreement forms.

See Selling Your Idea













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