Starting your own business is always a hard thing to do. Before you even start looking at office spaces and start getting paperwork in order, you have to think about how you can protect your idea. A lot of people have similar ideas when it comes to businesses, and the most important thing is who came up with it first. If it’s you, you need to make sure no one can steal it.
See how you can register your idea
Idea registration isn’t as simple as it may seem. There are multiple types of registration categories and you need to research them thoroughly to see where your idea fits in best. Firstly, there are copyrights. Registering here means that you have specific rights to your idea, like making copies and distributing it.
Secondly, there are patents, and they allow you to become the only manufacturer, user, and seller of your business idea. In other words, no one can use your idea for their own profit. Finally, there are trademarks. All things associated with your business like the logo, the name, and other symbols qualify for trademarks. They ensure that your customers recognize your business instantly and prevent others from copying you.
Only talk to people you trust
While you may be excited to start your new adventure, there’s no reason you should tell your plans and ideas to everyone. Sharing with people is fine when you already establish your business, but keep things to a minimum in the early idea stages.
Of course, it’s normal to want a few confidants and someone to bounce your ideas off of. It’s essential to see whether your idea has use for the real world, too. Make sure you can really trust the people you talk to, though. Conversations about your idea should be kept between you and that’s final.
Get some non-disclosure agreements
For extra protection, you can introduce non-disclosure agreements to your trusted crew. While some people may take it as a sign you don’t trust them, you should see it as an extra precaution. This kind of contract legally binds anyone who signs it to silence.
Without it, you could be liable to losing your idea to someone else. Betrayal isn’t the best-case scenario, but it definitely isn’t unheard of. On top of that, non-disclosure agreements can help the people you talk to take you more seriously and see that you’re not just rambling about starting a business.
Look into non-compete agreements
Another set of contracts that can help your idea stay protected are non-compete agreements. While non-disclosure agreements primarily forbid people from talking about your idea to others, non-compete agreements disallow them from taking your idea or starting a similar business.
As well as the non-disclosure agreements, they’re an extra protection against theft. Furthermore, this kind of agreements can be used with industry experts, so you can do a little networking and figure out the best business practices before you even get to the next step.
Hire through work for hire agreements
If you need more workers to help you get your idea off the ground, don’t hire them like you would hire conventional workers. Instead, use work for hire agreements with people that assist your business. This will allow the people with more expertise to legally tweak your idea, perfect it, and add onto it.
Sadly, you don’t have all the expertise for everything yourself, so sometimes outside help is necessary. These kinds of contracts ensure you stay the sole holder of all rights regarding the registered idea, though. The person helping you will just be considered a co-investor.
Get Some Professional Help
If you’re new to business in general but want to ensure everything is handled correctly, a good move would be to hire a good patent lawyer. While some people may think this is a waste of money, it’s a much safer alternative than doing everything yourself.
Simply put, these lawyers deal with the same kind of thing every day. They know the ins and outs of business and have been in the industry for a lot longer. Their experience and knowledge is invaluable, and can ensure nothing goes wrong with your patent. Therefore, this is a worthwhile investment that will put you closer to starting the business you’ve always dreamed of.
Trademark the company name
Aside from getting a patent for your idea, you should get ahead of things and trademark the name you want to use for your company. That way, when it’s time to start opening things up, you won’t have to worry about your name being taken already.
If you plan on having a company website as well (and you should plan on it), get the domain with your company name, too. This might prove to be a little bit expensive, but it’s simply a necessity. A good tip in this aspect is to try to go for more widespread domain endings, like the “.com” ones.
Document the process
Regardless of how sure you are that your idea is original and no one’s thought of it before, you should document the entire process. That way you have concrete proof when you started the process and you can more easily demonstrate that it was your idea from the start. Don’t forget to add timestamps to all the records for extra security.
As well as that, documenting the process can help you on a personal level. It can guide you and inspire you, as well as make you more aware of the progress you’ve already made. You can also check your ideas and steps from the past and learn from potential mistakes you’ve made.
As you can see, there are a lot of things you can do to protect your business idea. You don’t have to live in fear that someone else will start living your dreams before you. Being proactive and ensuring your intellectual property is protected is imperative for anyone, regardless of what industry they want to get into.