When any person has an idea or an invention, he should keep it strictly confidential and should not reveal it to anyone, with the following exceptions:
- He can show it directly to a licensed patent attorney;
- To anyone with whom the person feels is a responsible person, provided that they first sign a keep-confidential or a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) or sign as a witness to the disclosure describing the invention; and
- To the Patent Office through a Provisional Patent Application (PPA) or a Permanent Patent Application.
The purpose of this article is to make the reader aware as to when to share his idea without patent protection?
With regard to the purpose of selling your idea to a company without first filing of a patent application on it or either actually getting a patent, is not only considered as risky but it is also very difficult in order to make such a sale. Thus, before a person approaches any companies, he should first make a written, signed, dated and a witnessed record of the conception of the invention, and also the building and the testing of it if he has gone this far. The next two things which the person shoulddo is to evaluate its commercial potential and then do a patent search. If he thus feel it’s commercially viable and also patentable, the person’s fourth stepis to file a patent application. A patent application isa detailed description of the invention with the drawings, some of the claims (legal descriptions of your invention), a filing fee and also the formsto sign. Only then the person should submit his idea to companies which he feels couldmanufacture andsell his creationsuccessfully. He’ll find that because the suits from the inventors haveburned them, and hence almost all companies willrefuseto accept anything in confidence and they will alsoactually require him to sign a waiver before theylook at anything from you. The waiver requires the person to give up all his rights, except those who are however protected under the patent laws.
Some very small companies, without any legal advice, won’t however require the person to sign a waiver. The person cantryto find such a suitable company, but at least he should also complete the first two steps before disclosing anything. He mustsubmit it to them in confidence by requesting them to sign an NDA.