You’ve got an amazing idea for a new tech startup! The only problem is, you’re worried somebody may steal your idea before you get the chance to launch.
Establishing solid intellectual property strategies from the very beginning is key to the success of your new company. But where do you start?
There are so many things to consider when developing a new startup, but don’t fret dear friends. Keep reading for some strategies to help guide you down the road to success!
Intellectual Property Strategies 101
Before you can start implementing the proper IP strategy, you need to understand exactly what intellectual property is.
You don’t need to have a USC LLM to know the basics of IP Law, but seeking out somebody in that field could definitely be a benefit. Intellectual property can be a variety of things including, but not limited to, patents, trademarks, and copyrights.
Merriam-Webster defines intellectual property as property (such as an idea, invention, or process) that derives from the work of the mind or intellect. If you have a new idea for how to build a cell phone charger that charges your phone in only 5 minutes, that is your intellectual property.
But unless you put the proper strategies in place to protect that idea, somebody else with the same idea could create the product quicker. Here are some ways you can ensure that brilliant idea of yours stays in your possession.
1. Be Careful Who You Share With
We’d all like to think that when we share our ideas with a friend, they won’t go stealing that idea. But the truth is, you need to be very careful about you share your idea with.
If there is somebody you think can help you turn this idea into reality, establish some ground rules from the beginning. Having a co-founder is great to bounce ideas off of, but you need to set the terms of that relationship.
What percentage of ownership does each of you have? Do you own the IP or does the company own the IP? These are things that are crucial to consider.
2. What’s In A Name?
The answer may surprise you, but having a great name can actually be critical to a companies success. This means coming up with something unique that will be easy for people to remember. A good logo can help with this as well.
When coming up with a name, a quick google search can sometimes be your best friend. Search the name you want to use to make sure nobody else is already using it. If they are, try to come up with something else.
Branding is extremely important for a new startup. But even more important is locking in that branding early and gaining ownership of it.
3. Develop A Patent Strategy
This may seem straight forward, but this can often be overlooked when working on a new startup. Locking down the patent for your invention is crucial in retaining the intellectual property of your idea.
Securing the patent in the country where you live is great. But if you want your company to grow both nationally and internationally, you need to make sure you have a global plan as well. This includes huge countries like China which has exploded with global patents over the past decade.
4. Separate Your Current Job From Your Idea
Make sure that whatever resources you are using to develop your new idea are not resources from your current employer. The last thing you want is for you to use your current companies resources for your new idea, and end up with them owning that idea.
It can be hard to work a full-time job, and then come home and work on a new idea that isn’t making you money. But taking precautions, in the beginning, will limit problems in the future.
5. Be Picky About Who You Hire
It’s a terrible thing to say, but there are a lot of snakes in the business world. Make sure the people you hire are not there to steal your ideas.
A way you can minimize this risk is by being very careful about what information you share with your employees. Sometimes making a hierarchy of who needs to know what can be helpful with this.
Protect Yourself, Before You Wreck Yourself
As you can see, protecting yourself is extremely important. Developing intellectual property strategies up front will save you from a lot of headaches down the road.
For more tips, head over to our business page and help make your dream a reality!