How can I secure my idea before looking for investors? 7 Answers as of August 13, 2011

How much info will I need to ensure my idea cannot be stolen when looking for potential investors until i get a patent?

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Intellectual Property Center, LLC
Intellectual Property Center, LLC | Ak Shaf
You question is unclear. Generally, an idea is not protectable. But the expression of that idea may be. However, how much information you need to prevent someone from stealing your information, makes no sense. Feel free to email me back with additional information. Good Luck.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 8/13/2011
Edam Law PLLC
Edam Law PLLC | Edmar Mauricio Amaya
The real question is how much money do you want to spend to protect your idea? The more money you spend, the stronger the protection you will get. It is important to note that until you file a provisional or non provisional application the only protection you have is trade-secret protection. Trade-secret protection is a just as strong as a patent and if used properly and sometimes even stronger legal protection. This is because trade secret protection lasts forever as long as you follow proper secrecy procedures. One of them is that you have to keep your invention secret, i.e. do not tell anyone, just like the coca cola formula. Then you wonder, how do I tell investors? The answer is you use a confidentiality contract (NDA). This is contract usually governed by state law. An NDA is fairly inexpensive, but protection with and NDA by itself is weak. First, once the cat is out of the bag, it is impossible to get the cat back in the bag and you have to sue on the contract alone. Second, if the contract not drafted and executed properly it can be weak and the investor will have many contract defenses, basically stealing your idea. The next least expensive way to secure your idea is to file a provisional patent application and get "patent pending" status. The problem with provisional applications are that unless all the information that is in the provisional is claimed in the non-provicional and finally granted, that information is lost if disclosed. Usually the idea in the provisional is very raw, basic and is usually not drafted with completeness. Anything outside of it will be gone. The best and most expensive way is a combination of a non-provisional patent and a trade-secret protected NDA contract. On the patent application you have to disclose your invention as a whole and if properly drafted many alternatives embodiments and very broad claims. Another advantage is that in 18 months you will have a published patent application that you can show you investors to create more interest. The NDA will protect any, collateral know-how not disclosed in the patent application. A happy marriage. One last thing, a lot of investors knowing the liability of un-patented ideas will be reluctant to talk to you.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/12/2011
Law Office of Thomas Williamson
Law Office of Thomas Williamson | Thomas Williamson
The only really secure way is to have a patent application filed. You could rely on a non-disclosure, but that would only prevent the signer from disclosing. Anyone else who learned of the idea could pursue it.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 8/11/2011
Devon & Associates
Devon & Associates | Marcia A. Devon
Everyone who views any portion of your invention disclosure or prototype should sign a
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/11/2011
DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
If your idea has realistic commercial value, you should work with a patent attorney to analyze your invention, assess its patentability, and prepare and file a patent application that covers the broadest patentable aspects and features of your invention. Professional investors will expect you to have thoroughly and professionally protect your invention. On your own, you can conduct a preliminary patent art search to get a broader impression of the state of the art. But be sure to have a professional prior art search made before you file your patent application.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 8/10/2011
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