Steve Jobs, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Apple Inc. on an event made a comment:
“And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas”
There are many conflicting stories like Facebook and Apple. But one cannot deny the fact that there is always a risk attached to well-formed idea that might be stolen by someone. It’s better if you know how to create a shield around your idea and come-up with an early protection strategy before someone drags you to court or files allegations against you.
You cannot apply for a patent unless you have something to show what your product will look like at the end of the day. Just to be on the safe side, make a prototype so that you can apply for patent because an idea itself is nothing and cannot be an issue for patent. There is a possibility that my mind generates precisely the same thing that you have in your mind. You cannot protect it or claim it to be yours.
Form a Business Agreement
If you’re someone who has this great business idea, have even hired some developers to work on it but you still fear that it might go out of the defined-boundary-line, then it’s better to come up with a business agreement or a nondisclosure agreement (NDA). An NDA is an agreement between multiple parties not to tell others outside the agreement what is going on. You can present the agreement along with necessary documents of Business Plan or can make it a part of your Business Plan i.e. after reviewing the details, get it signed by the developers.
“I herewith solemnly swear that any plan I even have and/or any plan detected by my ears shall altogether belong to “Company X” and all derivatives of aforementioned concepts there from.”
This will ensure that they agree to all defined terms and conditions and this will prohibit them to reuse any concept without prior permission. Just in case, if things go wrong, you need something to show to court that it was YOUR idea. This approach is very useful and will save you from trouble in court.
If you already have a patent filed on your invented product but you are still insecure and have a feeling that someone has violated your patent terms, it’s always good to hire a Patent Attorney who will resolve any issues arising with regard to copyright.
With that said, be careful specially when discussing ideas with colleagues or even with friends. If you’re an entrepreneur, hire well. Take time to truly notice somebody that you will trust and has a good repute. Keep this quote in mind:
“Good artists copy; Great artists steal! – Picasso”
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