Protection Without A Patent


Clients often ask how they’re protected in showing us their invention idea before they get a patent. This is a very reasonable question, and there is a ton of misinformation on the topic. First and foremost is the notion that you can receive a patent without having to show anyone anything about your idea. This is simply not true. The patent office does not hand out patents like serving tickets at the deli. There is a rather lengthy litigation process involved with receiving a patent, and even the USPTO highly recommends that you have a licensed patent attorney/representative file the patent for you. So naturally, your patent attorney will have to understand what your idea is before they go about filing it for you.

Now that we’ve established that you have to show your idea to a licensed professional, what’s to protect your idea from the said professional? There is a long standing myth that you can simply mail the idea to yourself in order to obtain a “poor man’s patent”. The unfortunate thing about the “poor man’s patent” is that it offers absolutely no legal protection whatsoever. Worst yet is that many inventors think that this myth is fact. We are a first to file country, meaning that the first inventor to file a patent on an invention will receive the rights to that invention. Mailing the idea to yourself is not part of the patent process, nor will it hold up in any court. If one attempts to obtain royalties with a “poor man’s patent”, they are going to end up a poor man indeed.

At this point, things are looking rather bleak, as simple protection for an inventor seems non-existent. Luckily, there is one legally binding contract that will protect inventors as they reveal their ideas to those who can help them obtain a patent. A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement (CA), confidential disclosure agreement (CDA), proprietary information agreement (PIA), or secrecy agreement (SA), is a legal contract between at least two parties that outlines confidential material, knowledge, or information that the parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but wish to restrict access to or by third parties. It is a contract through which the parties agree not to disclose information covered by the agreement.

We here at For Sale By Inventor have our NDA posted as part of our Record of Invention form. This particular NDA is known as a unilateral non-disclosure agreement. A unilateral NDA is when one party submits information of a confidential nature over to another party. The contract is binding, so even if you choose not to use our services, we are unable to disclose any information about your idea to any third party.

Now that you know that your idea is safe with the NDA, now’s the time to make sure that you are properly protected with a patent! Get in touch with us today, and we’ll show you how to begin.


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Customer Reviews

4 Responses

  1. Well, I do have a patent pending invention! Fixing to launch it webpage! My comment is what is to stop a company, even getting a NDA, what keep a company from running to china or other countries to file a patent over there and before I get my utility patent and find a company to license my ideal, China start mass producing them and floods the market here??? please let me know! I have a new invention that’s never been on the market and the reason why is , you would see it in the home/office in beauty salons on fishing boat, grills, outdoors, patios and haven’t thought of all it can be used for!!I I thought of this 18 yrs ago and received prov. patent 21st! I have looked and search all that time. Now looking to license it. Just a bit short on cash and have to wait to finish patent , the tooling , materials, the mark up could be 6 or 7 times the cost of mfg. and dist. market from 12 to 85yrs of age and each person could use 4 to 10 of them counting the attachments !!Your wondering what the heck it could be!!Answer china Question and if I believe ! I may summit it for evaluation! Though I had 18 yrs to study the market!I Believe it will change thing as we do today! A make things easier and better in near future !I just started today , looking to license to possible clients! Thanks and sorry for being long winded! China concerns me

    1. Hi Kenny,
      Thank you for reaching out to us! We take client confidentiality VERY seriously, as this is the most important aspect of our industry–the protection of your intellectual property. Any idea that is submitted to us for our free review is submitted through our official Record of Invention form. This contains our non-disclosure & confidentiality agreement, which would legally prohibit us from doing anything with your idea. Further, you mentioned that your product is patent-pending? That would also protect you from any company, even those manufacturing outside of the United States, from selling an identical product in the U.S. If you need any assistance with your utility patent, or would like to discuss what sort of marketing assistance we offer, please give us a call– 1-800-860-0969. We would be happy to discuss in further detail or answer any questions you may have!

  2. Again….Ms.Kelleher, your insight to a flood gate of questions are reassuring to my assumption to reach out to your firm with confidence and possible research in the right direction to explore my genius of an idea…..I ABSOLUTELY embrace any further response that you have to further encourage anyone to not give up on their hopes and dreams…….thanks you are the best!!!!!!!!

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