Mr. Lindon, not to disagree on the importance of protecting your idea before disclosure, but wouldn`t a non-compete/non-disclosure agreement be a less expensive and just as safe first step? If anything to determine if a profit can be made or if the idea can even be produced at all.
I use a non-compete/non-disclose agreement as the first step when speaking with people to determine if their idea is worth further discussion for licensing. And also when I meet with manufacturers and other business people before I disclose anything. It was drafted by an attorney, so if he is good with it, so am I.
And yes, I agree with you from your other posts... use an attorney to do the patent work, search included.
I prepare NDA`s. I don`t think they are worth much. People that sign NDA`s can and do say "I already knew that before you told me" and the like. NDA`s can be VERY difficult to enforce. It can be difficult to prove that somebody stole an "idea," which is why we have legal mechanisms to define and register them [e.g. patent, TM, copyright].
Ideas in and of themselves often have very little value - so agreements not to disclose ideas are tenuous. I think people rely on NDA`s too much. NDA`s are like verbal contracts in this way. NDA`s do have some legal status but are subject to a LOT of loopholes and interpretation. NDA`s are often more trouble than they are worth and give a false sense of security.
If I want to steal your idea, a patent may stop me but an NDA wont.
Mr. Lindon. Let`s assume you`re right about NDAs. And on this linear graph, at the other end, patents done correctly can be very expensive.
Is there anything that a person can do that doesn`t require spending thousands of dollars for a patent application first for protection? Just so we can determine if the idea is even feasible?
Appreciate your thoughts.
OK, assuming the patent application will be filed exactly as the provisional was written. But from my experience concepts always change. Especially after more thought is put into how the thing will really work and then be manufactured. So, therefore provisionals can be a waste of time and money. I don`t like them.
So in your opinion, is there another safer solution besides NDA`s, provisionals, and filing a patent?
in my opinion, no.
you are correct - any and all patent applications [provisional and utility] can be a "waste of time and money" in light of new and better embodiments. if inventors want a guarantee not to waste money, they should file nothing. want a guarantee you won`t get divorced? don`t get married. likewise, no matter who you marry, there is always a possiblity a better mate will come along.