Whether you’ve made a new invention or created new software for your business, you may be excited to share it with others. Before you do that, you need to think carefully about how you can protect your work and avoid having it stolen by others.
Patents and copyrights both offer you protection, but there are other steps you can take to make your ideas and products more secure. Here are three ways to protect your property.
- File for a patent
When you seek a patent, you’re showing that your invention is unique and that you need to protect it. You will need to show the design and describe the new item as clearly as you can. If a patent is awarded because your invention is unique enough, then you may gain a strong advantage over other competitors, especially if that invention becomes popular.
- Consider getting a trademark
Another thing to do is to consider getting a trademark. A trademark protects phrases, symbols, words, designs, or combinations of these things. Getting a federal trademark may give your business distinct advantages, so it’s worth looking into getting one for your new design.
- Look into getting a copyright
The next thing you can look into is getting a copyright. Copyrights protect original works of authorship, like books or manuals. If you have an instruction manual for your new product, you might consider copyrighting its contents.
Outside of these three legal protections, you can help protect your invention or idea by keeping it quiet until you know what your legal rights are and how to keep your ideas your own.
If you spread information about a new invention or share one with someone who reverse engineers it before you have a patent or other protections, it may be more difficult to get the other party to stop selling or using what you created.
The better idea is to keep your invention and ideas protected until you’re ready to seek a patent or copyright. Share proprietary information on a need-to-know basis to keep it as secure as possible.