How To Protect A Business Idea From Theft

Protecting your business comes in many forms, and as businesses tend to grow, the importance of seeking new clients customers and investors increases more and more. And as you naturally begin to see more professionals from all sectors of your industry, the higher the prospects that someone could steal a business idea and use it for their own business. And while it's generally unlikely as a rule, it doesn't hurt to have an idea of how to protect your business and ideas from thieves.

Apply For A Patent 

If you've got an idea that you feel will go the distance, it's important to make sure you research the appropriate patent lawyers and put the stop gaps in place. You could apply for a provisional patent which protects your idea for the first 12 months. But after that, the provisional patent expires, and there is no opportunity to extend it. 

Non-Disclosure Agreements 

This is a suitable way to protect your idea before revealing it to your inner circle. It is an extreme method, especially if you are trying to pitch towards investors, and they are unlikely to want to sign a non-disclosure agreement before you officially meet with them. And as you need their input, this is something you may have to relinquish. A simpler option would be to have a confidentiality statement on your business plan which is legally binding. 

Have A Paper Trail 

Sometimes the old methods are the best. By creating a paper trail with all of your notes and writing, you will have proof of your ideas if the day comes where you have to go to court. The best way to keep a good paper trail is to log every discussion and timestamp it. It will come in handy if any of your preliminary business discussions go anywhere. 

Do Your Research On The Clients 

It's so easy to do a quick background check on potential investors or clients so you can get a good impression of their reputation before you decide to do any dealings with them. If you can see there are any previous disputes with business partners, or they don't have a good reputation, you can choose very carefully whether you want to do business with them. 

Trademarking Your Name 

For the most part, a company's name is linked very closely to an idea, so by trademarking your business name, this gives you an extra layer of protection in case there are any legal issues down the line. As the documentation used to register a trademark can be used as proof that your business idea was in progress at a certain time, it will be solid proof in case somebody tries to dispute this. 

Keep It Close To Your Chest 

This is the best way to keep your ideas secret. By only giving the necessary details to investors you are not revealing too much and making sure you've got your idea suitably protected. These are a few steps growing businesses can take to prevent theft, and while it's not in the best interests of investors to do this as it could damage their reputation, it still makes sense for you to have your cards close to your chest in some respects.

I hope you enjoyed this article about how to better protect your business from intellectual property theft.

Interested in more articles about protecting your business?

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Published by Michael J Schiemer
Owner of Bootstrap Business
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