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3 - Protect Your Idea

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					3. Protecting Your Idea


  So	
  you	
  want	
  to	
  get	
  feedback	
  on	
  your	
  business	
  idea,	
  
  but	
  how	
  do	
  you	
  share	
  it	
  safely?


  Maybe	
  you	
  decided	
  on	
  a	
  catchy	
  business	
  name	
  and	
  
  slogan.	
  How	
  do	
  you	
  protect	
  them	
  from	
  being	
  stolen	
  
  by	
  a	
  compe=tor?	
  


  In	
  this	
  chapter	
  I	
  walk	
  through	
  how	
  and	
  when	
  to	
  
  protect	
  your	
  intellectual	
  property,	
  including	
  
  trademarks,	
  copyright,	
  trade	
  secrets	
  and	
  patents.


                         We	
  will	
  also	
  explore	
  NDAs	
  (Non-­‐
                          Disclosure	
  Agreements),	
  and	
  how	
  
                             they	
  can	
  help	
  you	
  rest	
  a	
  liGle	
  
                               easier	
  when	
  sharing	
  your	
  idea	
  
                                with	
  other	
  people.


                                               Keep	
  your	
  ideas	
  safe,	
  
                                                and	
  keep	
  your	
  mind	
  
                                                at	
  ease!
Intellectual Property

Intellectual	
  Property	
  is	
  ownership	
  of	
  something	
  intangible,	
  such	
  as	
  an	
  
idea,	
  design,	
  concept	
  or	
  formula.	
  Entrepreneurs	
  use	
  intellectual	
  property	
  
to	
  protect	
  their	
  business,	
  here	
  are	
  its	
  4	
  forms:




                                           Type of work                       Examples




                                                                                                         Chapter 4: Protect Your Idea
                                          a	
  work	
  of	
                  literature,	
  source	
  
     1. Copyright                                                            code,	
  a	
  musical	
  
                                          authorship
                                                                             composi=on

                                          a	
  sign	
  or	
  indicator	
     logos,	
  slogans,	
  
     2. Trademark                         associated	
  with	
  a	
          or	
  brand	
  images	
  
                                          brand	
  



                                           a	
  work	
  of	
                 a	
  machine,	
  
     3. Patent                                                               process	
  or	
  
                                           inven=on
                                                                             physical	
  product

                                           a	
  process	
  or	
  
                                           formula	
  that	
                 the	
  Coca	
  Cola	
  
    4. Trade Secret                                                          recipe
                                           retains	
  value	
  by	
  
                                           remaining	
  secret
Copyright                                                                             Symbol:             ©

 Copyright	
  applies	
  to	
  original	
  works	
  of	
  authorship	
  such	
  as	
  a	
  book	
  or	
  a	
  
 play,	
  but	
  it	
  also	
  covers	
  crea=ve	
  art	
  including	
  photographs,	
  pain=ngs,	
  
 drawings	
  and	
  sculptures.	
  


 Legally,	
  your	
  content	
  is	
  copyrighted	
  upon	
  crea=on.	
  That	
  means,	
  the	
  
 poem	
  or	
  doodle	
  you	
  scribbled	
  into	
  your	
  notebook	
  automa=cally	
  
 belongs	
  to	
  you	
  under	
  copyright	
  law.	
  The	
  important	
  trick	
  in	
  cases	
  of	
  
 dispute,	
  however,	
  is	
  proving	
  that	
  you	
  created	
  the	
  work	
  first.	
  


 Some	
  people	
  seal	
  and	
  mail	
  works	
  of	
  authorship	
  to	
  themselves	
  in	
  




                                                                                                                    Chapter 4: Protect Your Idea
 order	
  to	
  create	
  a	
  clear	
  date	
  stamp.	
  You	
  can	
  also	
  register	
  with	
  the	
  US	
  
 Copyright	
  Office	
  for	
  about	
  $35	
  per	
  work.	
  This	
  allows	
  you	
  to	
  more	
  
 easily	
  sue	
  those	
  who	
  infringe	
  upon	
  your	
  copyright	
  for	
  damages.




Trademark                                                 Pending: ™ Symbol:                              ®

 Trademarks	
  apply	
  to	
  logos,	
  slogans	
  and	
  other	
  clear	
  designa=ons	
  of	
  a	
  
 brand	
  or	
  individual.	
  For	
  example,	
  both	
  the	
  word	
  “docstoc”	
  and	
  our	
  
 logo	
  are	
  trademarked.	
  You	
  can	
  trademark	
  a	
  single	
  word,	
  or	
  an	
  en=re	
  
 phrase,	
  like	
  Nike’s	
  renowned	
  “Just	
  do	
  it.”


 Trademarks	
  can	
  be	
  filed	
  with	
  the	
  government	
  for	
  about	
  $300	
  at	
  the	
  
 US	
  Patent	
  and	
  Trademark	
  Office.	
  Like	
  a	
  copyright,	
  filing	
  a	
  trademark	
  
 is	
  a	
  fairly	
  simple	
  process,	
  and	
  can	
  most	
  likely	
  be	
  done	
  on	
  your	
  own.
Patent

  Patents	
  apply	
  to	
  new	
  and	
  useful	
  inven=ons,	
  
  and	
  are	
  more	
  complicated	
  to	
  file	
  than	
  
  copyrights	
  or	
  trademarks.	
  They	
  are	
  also	
  
  filed	
  through	
  the	
  US	
  Patent	
  and	
  Trademark	
  
                                                                               Quick Tip
  Office,	
  and	
  many	
  cases	
  it	
  is	
  advisable	
  to	
  
  involve	
  an	
  aGorney	
  in	
  a	
  patent	
  applica=on.                    You can check if
                                                                                  your idea for a
                                                                                  business name, a
  It	
  is	
  for	
  this	
  reason	
  that	
  I	
  advise	
  99%	
  of	
         domain or patent
  business	
  owners	
  to	
  not	
  focus	
  too	
  intently	
  




                                                                                                                  Chapter 4: Protect Your Idea
                                                                                  has been taken yet
  on	
  gecng	
  a	
  patent	
  immediately.	
  You	
                             by searching
  should	
  direct	
  that	
  energy	
  on	
  gecng	
                             Trademarkia.
  customers	
  and	
  building	
  out	
  your	
  product.	
  


  I	
  oden	
  come	
  across	
  people	
  who’ve	
  put	
  =me	
  into	
  gecng	
  several	
  
  patents,	
  but	
  s=ll	
  haven’t	
  goGen	
  any	
  customers.	
  In	
  this	
  case,	
  
  priori=zing	
  patents	
  ended	
  up	
  being	
  detrimental	
  to	
  their	
  business.



Trade	
  Secret

   Trade	
  Secrets	
  are	
  processes,	
  formulas	
  or	
  designs	
  that	
  must	
  be	
  kept	
  
   secret	
  in	
  order	
  to	
  retain	
  their	
  value.	
  


   The	
  classic	
  example	
  is	
  the	
  Coca	
  Cola	
  formula.	
  If	
  its	
  formula	
  were	
  to	
  
   be	
  released,	
  compe=tors	
  could	
  reproduce	
  their	
  classic	
  taste	
  and	
  
   Coca	
  Cola	
  would	
  have	
  a	
  case	
  for	
  lost	
  damages.
Non-Disclosure Agreements

 I	
  men=oned	
  in	
  the	
  “Idea=on”	
  sec=on	
  that	
  sharing	
  your	
  idea	
  with	
  
 others	
  is	
  a	
  great	
  way	
  to	
  vet	
  it.	
  It	
  can	
  be	
  helpful	
  to	
  share	
  your	
  concept	
  
 or	
  design	
  with	
  a	
  poten=al	
  partner	
  before	
  you’ve	
  launched	
  it,	
  or	
  
 someone	
  in	
  the	
  field	
  who	
  can	
  provide	
  helpful	
  feedback.


 Whether	
  your	
  idea	
  is	
  original	
  or	
  an	
  improvement	
  of	
  what’s	
  out	
  there,	
  
 you	
  may	
  be	
  interested	
  in	
  keeping	
  your	
  product	
  or	
  approach	
  secret	
  




                                                                                                                             Chapter 4: Protect Your Idea
 while	
  it’s	
  in	
  development.


                                                           One	
  way	
  to	
  maintain	
  some	
  level	
  of	
  
                                                           security	
  when	
  you	
  share	
  your	
  ideas	
  
                                                           is	
  through	
  an	
  NDA	
  (Non-­‐Disclosure	
  
    Quick Tip                                              Agreement).	
  


       NDA’s are great, but                                 The	
  NDA	
  details	
  the	
  sensi=ve	
  
       keep in mind that                                    material	
  being	
  discussed,	
  and	
  
       almost no investors                                  legally	
  requires	
  confiden=ality	
  from	
  
                                                            all	
  par=es	
  involved.
       will be willing to
       sign an NDA, so
       don’t expect that                                    In	
  the	
  case	
  of	
  business	
  deals	
  or	
  
       when sharing your                                    partnerships,	
  where	
  both	
  en==es	
  
                                                            are	
  sharing	
  classified	
  informa=on,	
  
       idea with a venture
                                                            par=es	
  usually	
  sign	
  a	
  mutual	
  NDA,	
  
       or angel investor.
                                                            which	
  means	
  both	
  companies	
  share	
  
                                                            and	
  keep	
  the	
  informa=on	
  secret.
Vocabulary:	
  Other	
  Terms	
  to	
  Consider

 Blurring:	
  When	
  an	
  adver=ser’s	
  dis=nc=ve	
  mark	
  is	
  used	
  on	
  
 unauthorized	
  products

 Dilu>on:	
  Lessening	
  the	
  capacity	
  of	
  a	
  famous	
  mark	
  to	
  iden=fy	
  and	
  
 dis=nguish	
  a	
  business

 Inventor’s	
  Notebook:	
  Used	
  by	
  inventors,	
  scien=sts	
  and	
  engineers	
  
 to	
  record	
  their	
  inven=on	
  process	
  to	
  help	
  establish	
  dates	
  of	
  




                                                                                                           Chapter 4: Protect Your Idea
 concep=on	
  for	
  patent	
  contesta=ons

 Parody:	
  An	
  imita=ve	
  work	
  created	
  to	
  mock	
  or	
  comment	
  on	
  a	
  
 target,	
  protected	
  under	
  the	
  First	
  Amendment

 Sa>re:	
  A	
  funny	
  piece	
  of	
  literature	
  or	
  art	
  lined	
  with	
  sarcasm	
  and	
  
 irony	
  to	
  cri=que	
  a	
  target,	
  where	
  use	
  of	
  trademarks	
  are	
  not	
  legally	
  
 protected	
  under	
  the	
  First	
  Amendment

 Subpoena:	
  A	
  request	
  to	
  provide	
  tes=mony	
  or	
  evidence	
  to	
  the	
  
 courts

 Tarnishment:	
  When	
  a	
  mark	
  becomes	
  linked	
  to	
  products	
  of	
  inferior	
  
 quality,	
  or	
  is	
  portrayed	
  in	
  an	
  unsavory	
  context

 Term:	
  Amount	
  of	
  =me	
  IP	
  is	
  protected	
  (for	
  example,	
  a	
  patent	
  term	
  
 is	
  20	
  years)
Resources Recap

 • 	
  US	
  Copyright	
  Office
 • 	
  US	
  Patent	
  and	
  Trademark	
  Office
 • 	
  Trademarkia


• 	
  Intellectual	
  Property	
  Agreements	
  (legal	
  document	
  package)
• 	
  How	
  to	
  protect	
  your	
  idea	
  (course)




                                                                                          Chapter 4: Protect Your Idea
• 	
  Safely	
  start	
  a	
  business	
  while	
  you’re	
  employed	
  (video)(video)
• 	
  NDA	
  (custom	
  legal	
  document)
• 	
  Copyrights	
  
       • 	
  What	
  is	
  a	
  copyright?	
  (video)
       • 	
  Copyright	
  Licensing	
  Agreement	
  (custom	
  legal	
  document)
• 	
  Trademark
    • 	
  What	
  is	
  a	
  trademark?	
  (video)
    • 	
  Trademark	
  Licensing	
  Agreement	
  (custom	
  legal	
  document)
• 	
  Patents
       • 	
  What	
  is	
  a	
  patent?	
  (video)
    • 	
  Parts	
  of	
  a	
  patent	
  applica=on	
  (video)
    • 	
  Cease	
  and	
  Desist:	
  re:	
  Patent	
  (custom	
  legal	
  document)

				
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