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Selling an idea or design.

  1. May 18, 2007 #1

    JasonRox

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    Is it necessary to have a patent so it doesn't get stolen as you try to sell it?

    How does selling an idea actually work?
     
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  3. May 18, 2007 #2

    Astronuc

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    Most corporations will have what are called 'trade secrets', which one will not find in a patent. Keeping it a secret is the only way to protect that information (intellectual property).

    A patent will protect some information, but others could modify the product or process, and perhaps defeat the protection afforded by a patent. Also, one might need more than one patent, which means surround patents, in which a process/method and components are patented separately.
     
  4. May 18, 2007 #3

    JasonRox

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    So, how does one approach a company to buy an idea?
     
  5. May 18, 2007 #4

    Astronuc

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    Presumable one knows that the company in question has some idea/intellectual property/piece of technology.

    Basically one can obtain (buy) a license, usually an exclusive license. One would approach the company's legal department or someone who is responsible for licensing the technology. And there would be a joint non-disclosure agreement. I often have to work under NDAs since my work often involves proprietary information.
     
  6. May 18, 2007 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    A "promise to not compete" is often used as well. I often have to sign both of these in order to gain access to customers systems.

    My favorite was the promise to not use the word "Wahoo" until the product was released. :biggrin:
     
  7. May 18, 2007 #6

    JasonRox

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    I'm not sure I understand what you guys are saying.

    Like, I want to go and sell my idea (design) of a product. But, I don't want them to steal it. Like, they say "No, we're not interested." and turn around and make it anyways.

    How do I avoid that from happening as I propose my idea?
     
  8. May 18, 2007 #7

    Moonbear

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    I think you'd have to have a non-disclosure agreement in place BEFORE you show them the details. You can give them enough of an idea for them to know if they want to see the details, but they have to sign an agreement first. It wouldn't be something that would compel them to buy it unseen, but that would protect you if they decide not to buy it. You're still going to need a lawyer to help write that...corporations have their own in-house attorneys who will gobble up any loophole you leave in it if you don't get a good lawyer to write it up.
     
  9. May 19, 2007 #8

    haha, thats good.
     
  10. May 19, 2007 #9

    Astronuc

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    As Moonbear indicated - One must have a non-disclosure agreement in place BEFORE one discloses any details of one's idea/product/IP.

    Let me check the NDA's I have and see if one might be appropriate. One I read recently was very careful with terms and conditions, e.g. that the agreement did not imply a transfer of any rights or titles to the particular technology, i.e. one does not want to surrender control of one's idea.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2007
  11. May 19, 2007 #10

    JasonRox

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    Awesome guys!

    This is exactly what I'm looking for.
     
  12. May 20, 2007 #11

    JasonRox

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    Now, I read around that you should give a brief introduction about your product or idea so that the investor can decided whether or not they want to invest in the idea.

    My problem is that my idea is very basic (well two of them). They are just different ways of using a particular product and can in fact be summed up in one line.

    So, how can you be brief without actually giving it away?
     
  13. May 20, 2007 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    Unless you can lay claim to particular technology, likely, you can't.

    It is all but impossible to protect an idea. Get a non-disclosure and no compete form signed, and you have probably done all that you can.
     
  14. May 20, 2007 #13

    JasonRox

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    Well, I have two ideas. One big and one small. I'll do the small one, and if that falls apart, I'll just go somewhere else and try something different.

    I will also talk to a lawyer about this. My girlfriends brother is writing his bar exam this summer and her sister is also almost done law school. Therefore, one of them should know something about this. :biggrin:
     
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