It’s not uncommon to need help bringing a product to market, especially in the early stages of development. For example, you may need to hire an engineer or product designer when creating a prototype of your idea. You may need to hire someone to sketch your idea to use on a sales sheet. Whoever you hire and for whatever purpose, do not forget the following!
It’s imperative that everyone who works for you signs two documents. The first is called a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA. This document insures that the individual keep everything they learn about your idea to himself or herself. It’s essential for protecting your idea! And secondly, make sure to have him or her sign a “work for hire” agreement. This agreement protects you from a later claim that the person helped co-invent your idea. If someone helps you in the early stages of development, it’s likely they’re putting the meat on the bones of your idea. Improvements or changes may be made to your existing idea, or new ways of applying it. Without their signature, he or she could later claim to have co-invented your idea! This happens more often than you may think.
And finally, as always, make sure to protect yourself by maintaining an inventor’s journal. Document everything! Write in ink, don’t skip pages, and have a third party sign every new development to your idea stating they understand it and they acknowledge it’s yours. If you work hard to protect yourself in these beginning stages, you won’t run into complications later! Be vigilant.
Stephen Key is a successful award-winning inventor who has licensed
over 20 products in the past 30 years. Along with business partner
Andrew Krauss, Stephen runs inventRight,
a company dedicated to educating inventors about selling their ideas
and the skills needed to succeed. You can listen to the weekly radio show on inventing. Get In The News, list your invention to have media outlets find you for news stories.