How to Stop Your Business’s Tech Ideas from Being Stolen

As soon as you hit upon a genius idea for a new app, gadget or other piece of outstanding tech, so many thoughts begin to cloud your mind. How do you plan on marketing it to the wider public? Is your idea actually doable? How much will it cost to make a prototype, let alone a whole batch?

One of the biggest questions is how to keep your idea under wraps. You can never be too careful, as failure to keep it to yourself or protect it may give rivals reason to take it without any consequences. If your idea is stolen without any form of protection in place, you could be out of pocket and have to go back to the drawing boards.

In the UK, an estimated 26% of internet users used computer software illegally. This stat alone shows that protecting against the theft of your intellectual property is extremely worthwhile, but how can you go about it?

Patenting

For any new invention, piece of software, app or website, the first thing to do is approach your country’s patent office. Then, ask to take out a patent for your creation(s). This is the first step you should take to protect your tech idea from theft.

The next step is to have some form of legal support in place, just in case your idea or finished product is taken by someone and used in an improper way. Look at finding a specialist in intellectual property law such as Withers and ask them for advice if your ideas have actually been stolen.

Another preventative measure is to put a disclaimer somewhere in your app, the software packaging or on your website. It should contain information about the patent number and discourage people from stealing your idea.

Terms and Conditions

On a similar note, Terms and Conditions should spell out that you have sole ownership of your idea(s). They should be on your company’s website, in any apps you’ve made or, if you are making a physical product, be on a separate sheet or part of the instruction manual. These should include a definition of how your idea can and cannot be used, among other things.

Finally, you should look at copyrighting your finished product. In some countries such as the UK, copyright comes automatically, but you may need to apply for a trademark to add an extra layer of protection. While you wait for all of that to come through, make sure you keep your idea a secret – try not to share it with anyone outside your business.

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