Sell Your Idea

Sell Your Idea

How Can I Patent an Idea?

I Have an Idea but How Can I Protect It

The problem with just having an idea is that you can't simply "own" an idea. Patents protect inventions, copyrights protect creative type of work, trademarks protect commercial phrases and images. Nothing legally protects an idea by itself. You don't own it. So, how do you present your idea without someone stealing it and or telling someone else about it.

You could ask anyone that you decide to tell prior to spilling your beans that they sign a confidentiality agreement and on a personal level, I would, but if you plan on presenting it to a company or marketing group, don’t expect them to sign it. Bottom line, companies that may be interested in your idea may already be considering something very similar and they could wind up blocking their own efforts to proceed with their own idea since it was close to yours.

Now, that being said, you can Protect Your Idea with a Provisional Patent. . The U.S. Government has recognized that people need an economical means of filing for patents and protecting their ideas even if the final finished product has yet to be completed. This type of patent, a provisional patent, qualifies for a Patent Pending status, so that you are protected by having your idea being dated and being considered for a more permanent patent while you continue to pursue your efforts to get it to market.

You can read the basic background of a provisional patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and see if this explains things in detail for you.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

TRUE STORY - Firsthand

Everybody has their own story of the one that got away, even if it's not a fishing story. Well, I am no different, but this was a WHOPPER!

Okay, to be careful as to not disclosing exactly what I did and who I did this for, I will omit that tidbit from my true story. This is a lesson in protecting your ideas especially if you are sitting on a goldmine that will benefit your employer. You see, this was what I had hoped would give me a large suggestion award and it turned out they basically stole my idea, well kinda, considering what I gave away and what they paid me.

On to the story, I was working for a fortune 500 company and was producing less than desired quality product that was a fault of the machinery, not mine. I went home for weeks worrying that the company if caught, by their customers would ultimately cause me to be the scapegoat and I would lose my job.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I came up with a idea that I pursued privately with my machine manufacturer and they agreed with my idea and said it would work. I then in turn wrote up a suggestion to submit to my company's suggestion box. To explain in brief, if you have an idea that they adopt you get an percentage of the first year's savings.

Well, a few weeks went by and my department manager came to me and ask me to explain my suggestion. I did and he said I think we'll try that idea. Long story short, they did and it was a smashing success. To the tune of saving the company over $2 MILLION Dollars the first year alone and it continues to save them millions each year. 

After several months of me inquiring about a payout, they finally came to me and handed me a check for $1500.00, that was it, nothing more, no incremental installments, zip nada, that was THE END!

Moral to this story and possibly to yours, DO NOT ASSUME Your employer will take care of you or show you due respect for your input. If you have a similar situation and have an idea, GET A PATENT! This could have made me a millionaire easily since this is a fortune 500 company that could apply this to multiple divisions.

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