Protecting You Invention


It can be almost stated as fact that no one in the invention industry is interested in, or even at all likely to steal your invention - no matter how great it is. Not that it couldn't happen or hasn't happened. I've never heard of it though. The bad invention people are after your money. The good invention people are interested in licensing your idea for royalties and to enhance their resume.

It is largely companies who have historically stolen inventions and taken them to market. They're the ones with the means to launch a product. Even those cases however are extremely rare. They are far more likely to steal from each other. In the modern age, no big company wants the negative press that would go with ripping off a loan inventor.

Many inventors worry a great deal about having their idea stolen. Besides it being a rare occurrence, if you do a few things, you'll be doing all that can be done that is effective. You have to feel good about that! There are some great stories about inventors winning tens of millions of dollars from infringers. If you follow this path, your on solid footing to protect yourself.

Do these things to protect yourself:


  1. 1.

    Have a reputable licensing agent or industry insider sign a non-disclosure agreement and evaluate your invention. Do this whether or not you have a patent.


    If they like your idea, figure out or find out if your idea can be patented. They'll give you a non-legal but valuable opinion on this as part of their evaluation.


    If you believe with good cause that your invention can be patented, file a provisional patent and initiate or facilitate licensing efforts.


    If licensing is successful, negotiate or have your agent negotiate, to include a provision in the licensing agreement for the licensee to pursue the patent in your name.


    No more than 9 months after filing the provisional, make the decision whether or not it makes sense to pursue a full patent which will typically range from $5,000 - $12,000.


    Have a non-disclosure agreement and ask people to sign it if you need to discus your invention with them. Most companies wont sign NDA's. You wont need to fear discussing your invention with North America and EU companies as long as you have either a provisional or full patent application filed.


    Do not rely on any of the "wives tales" or invention lore about mailing yourself proof of concept and keeping the envelope sealed, or having invention papers notorized, etc. Those methods were never effective and now the United States is on a "First To File" system. Protection issues, including understanding how some patent attorneys take advantage of inventors, are discussed in depth in The Inventor Trap.

Remember, any expenses on protection are imprudent if your invention has not been evaluated as in item 1 above. See “The Recommends List” in the book, The Inventor Trap or go to our Services page or our Evaluation Page.

The protection process outlined above is an amalgamation addressing only general functional protectability. Read The Inventor Trap section on intellectual property protection and also  Patent It Yourself by David Pressman.  Pressman is a patent attorney, and his book is a great place to get all the in depth legal information you could want presented understandably, concisely and indexed by both broad and specific topic categories. 

Also be sure to visit and explore the U.S. Patent Office website.  Start at either their section for inventors and entrepreneurs; USPTO Entrepreneurs, or visit the USPTO main page; .  If you call or email the USPTO, they're great about getting back to you quickly with answers about any aspect of the patent process or patent law, though they cannot of course give legal advice. 


An ethical, competent and enthusiastic patent attorney is great for a consult, or as a part of your team once you know your invention is worth protecting. 




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