You know you’ve done it. We all have. You’ve seen an advertisement, read an article in Inc. magazine, or watched Shark Tank and thought, “That’s my idea! He stole my idea!”
The difference between your idea and the one featured in Fortune is someone believed in it—and herself—enough to make it happen, including talking to people who could help make the dream a reality. We hear a lot of “wannabe” entrepreneurs excuse their lack of action by telling themselves—and others—they refuse to share their brilliant idea because someone will steal it. (Case in point: that guy on Shark Tank who clearly heard you talking about your night vision camera mop with you buddies four years ago and just got funding from Daymond John for the same thing).
We at Uncommon Legal call BS. In fact, we are going to rip that excuse right out from under you with these three LEGAL tools to use for protecting your amazing ideas, regardless at where you are in the development process.
1. NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT. Ask any vendors, clients, or collaborators with whom you intend to work to sign non-disclosure agreement to protect confidentiality BEFORE you start talking. Call us to create a customized version just for you.
2. NON-COMPETE AGREEMENT. When (not if) you need to hire employees or engage independent contractors to help you manifest your incredible idea, be sure each one of them signs a non-compete agreement that prohibits them from learning all your secrets, leaving you high and dry, and setting up shop down the block having taken your ideas (and perhaps your clients) with them.
3. WORK-FOR-HIRE AGREEMENT. Did you know that every vendor and independent contractor you hire owns the work they create for you by default—unless you have them sign an agreement that says otherwise. That means every web developer, designer, copywriter, or editor that you retain to create or improve the information products or other materials you are putting out there must sign an agreement that contains specific language stating that their work is “work-for-hire” under the US Copyright Act. Any such agreement must clearly state that YOU, not the vendor, retain complete ownership and authorship rights, including moral and licensure rights, to use the work created for your entity as you see fit. Without such an agreement, you have no insurance that you retain your rights as the creator or develop of your brilliant product, service, or business model. If you have no idea what we’re talking about, call us and we’ll schedule time to simplify this even further.
If you don’t talk about your ideas so you can act on them, someone else will beat you to it. Don’t let that happen. Do what you need to do NOW to protect yourself, your ideas, and alleviate your worries so you can tell the whole world about your brilliance (and perhaps get some funding for it along the way). And don’t forget that we’re here to help.
If you’re a small or mid-size business owner who wants help with these agreements and could use someone to ensure your intellectual property is ready for high-velocity growth, call us today to schedule your comprehensive Business Health Check-Up. Normally, this session is $1,500, but if you mention this article, you will receive a 50% discount. Let that sink in.