There’s a temptation, and even a trend out there, for startups to share their intellectual property, namely their ideas, concepts and inventions, in the early phases, even crowdsourcing suggestions and feedback as they go. Some startups are out there pre-marketing on social media sites before they even have physical products or services to sell or a website to sell them on.
But what if someone steals your idea?
According to the new patent laws under the America Invents Act, the first inventor to file for a patent is entitled to the patent rights of the invention regardless of whether or not another inventor can prove to have conceived the invention earlier.
So, when solo-inventors or startup CEOs are ready to protect their innovations, they have four options:
- Learn to draft and file for patents, trademarks and copyrights on their own
- Go with a “fill-in-the-blank” template service like LegalZoom
- Retain representation from a high-priced IP Firm
- Go with a platform like IP SmartUp that allows startups and inventors to collaborate with licensed patent attorneys as they go through the patenting process, filling the gap between high priced IP firms and fill-in-the-blank template services.
IP SmartUp guides startups and inventors through the first steps of drafting a patent application, then connects them to a network of patent attorneys who oversee, optimize, and properly file their application to timely secure “Patent Pending” status.
I spoke with co-founder Mike Avady who notes, “our platform takes care of the formalities in the patent process, provides easy-to-use drafting tools for inventors, and time-saving tools for attorneys. As a result, attorneys can focus their time on optimizing an inventor’s patent coverage, and, in turn, inventors save money.”
Whichever approach you go with, be sure to protect your intellectual property before you go too far with your feedback gathering, publicity and marketing!