Every successful business starts with a clever idea that is developed into reality through hard work and resources. “In today’s brutal and merciless corporate world, innovative business ideas are often stolen, imitated or duplicated by unscrupulous people for individual gain,” said Issa Asad Florida entrepreneur, businessman, and social media expert. Mr. Asad is also the CEO of Q Link Wireless, Quadrant Holdings, and Bond Media. He is also the author of 4 social media marketing and e-commerce marketing e-books.
Stolen ideas mostly occurs in cases where small time entrepreneurs approach investors for funding since they may lack the proper capital to kick-start their business ideas. In such an instance, how can you protect your valuable idea without withholding critical information to the investors? The following are 4 ways to protect your business ideas.
1. Avoid Revealing Too Much Information
Many young innovators make the mistake of sharing details about their idea to other people in an effort to showcase their ingenuity. This is one of the factors that contribute to business idea theft since competitors always have their eyes wide open and ears primed for the next million dollar idea. By merely resisting the need to prove yourself to friends, colleagues and online communities, you ensure that your idea remains a secret right from the inception stage. This may prove tricky when pitching your idea to investors since they require details before handing out any money. The trick here is to focus on the need your product while avoiding any details of how the product functions.
2. Hire a Business Lawyer
This should be the first step you make before pitching your idea to potential investors. Your lawyer will draw up all the necessary documents that show the origin of the idea, the inventor as well as offer legal guidance on the way forward. Having a competent lawyer on speed dial can come in very handy due to unforeseeable future circumstances. It is always wiser to take preventative measures before you present your idea to ensure that nobody tries to take it as their own. In the event that any entity claims the idea as their own, your lawyer needs to be ready with the necessary documents such as lawsuits and cease and desist letters.
3. Have a Dated Proof of Concept
When it boils down to a legal battle, the differing parties are required to provide proof of concept that will give evidence of ownership Proof of concept can exist in a vast array of forms such as a how-to video, documents or even a recording of the ideas origin. One way to get a solid or airtight argument is by posting an explanatory video about your business idea on YouTube. This is very helpful since YouTube videos have a date stamp. Just be careful not to reveal too much information on the internet.
4. Acquire a Patent for the Business Idea
This method is undoubtedly one of the best ways of protecting your business idea in the eyes of the law. A patent allows you to hold exclusive rights to make, use or distribute your ideas and products as long as the patent indicates. As an entrepreneur on the rise, it may prove very expensive and time-consuming to get a patent. This can leave your idea vulnerable to theft with a patent pending approval. In such a case, all you need to do is apply for a provisional patent that protects your business idea for 12 months. This will give you more time to set up stronger measures while advancing your business agenda further.