Protect Your Idea From Your “Friends”

Patent Services for Startups, Entrepreneurs, and Innovative Companies

"My idea ... became 'our' idea"

When I meet with entrepreneurs to talk about their idea, often a concern they have is how to go back in time and document that they were the original owner of their idea. Why? So "friends" like family, business associates, and product developers don't start calling it their idea too. It is a valid concern and often the entrepreneur has come to this realization a bit too late.

"I had the idea and engaged some developers. Now my developers think it is their idea too."

Entrepreneurs often pitch their ideas to those around them to get feedback. Then to test out an idea, many entrepreneurs assemble a skilled team to build a prototype, website, marketing plan, develop a software application, and so on. Suddenly, usually about the time, the idea gets close to product launch and revenue generation, things change. Some of those people who were in the loop or doing the work become vocal about their contributions and perceived ownership interest in the idea. It can create a real worry and a big mess for the entrepreneur.

I wish I would have protected my idea before...


Assembling a development team

Working with manufacturers

Pitching to investors

Pilot testing

Taking that meeting with what now looks to be a competitor

Public presentation at a trade show

Offering it for sale

To mitigate the risk of your idea getting away from you, consider filing a patent application. In particular, the US Patent and Trademark Office has a type of patent called a provisional patent. The provisional patent is low cost to file, provides a documented filing date, and perhaps most importantly establishes what the idea is and who owns it.

The provisional patent gives you a patent-pending status for a twelve-month period. Easy to prepare, the application only requires a cover sheet that identifies the inventors (and a few other things) and a description of the idea.

The application can be filed online at the US Patent and Trademark Office website. The filing fee is $70US, $140US, or $280US depending upon your filing status. Most startups and entrepreneurs fall into the $70US micro entity or $140US small entity filing status. The applications are held in secrecy at the Patent Office. They are not examined and do not mature into patents (There is a different type of patent application for that).

Need help protecting your idea? Patent services tailored to startups and entrepreneurs is what we do.


Ways we can help you:
      • Drafting, filing, and prosecuting patent applications
      • Embedding with innovation teams to harvest, refine, and protect ideas
      • Identifying patentable ideas within startup technologies
      • Landscaping markets to identify new opportunities
      • Developing patent strategies for products and startup
      • Managing the patent creation process from concept to product launch
      • Searching ideas for prior art patents
      • Reviewing prior art patents with product development teams
      • Building IP for VC/PE portfolio companies

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