Inventors have a lot of ideas in mind, and they are doing their best to translate these ideas into reality. Most of the time, the inventors would apply for a patent for the device or the idea that they formulated, but there are instances where their ideas are being stolen to create similar devices. As an inventor, there are things to consider after creating your invention, like applying for patents with the necessary offices and searching the internet to see if there are similar devices.
Once the proper trademark or patent has been established for your device or idea, you have the right to file a lawsuit against any product released in the market that bears a resemblance to the product or idea that you created. A strong case against trademark infringement could result in millions of dollars being awarded to you, as a payment for the damages of stealing your idea. The following list provides ways an invention can end up being copied or taken without your consent.
You Haven’t Patented It Yet
If you recently created an invention and the product is not yet patented, there is a considerable chance it might get stolen. Inventions that are not patented are susceptible to being copied or taken by anyone around the world, who can reproduce your idea without your consent. In most extreme cases where the product is not patented, the thief registers the invention under his or her name, profiting from the idea that was initially not theirs. As the original creator of the device, you won’t be able to do anything because the thief is the first one to register the device.
You Announced It to the Public
Your invention might be in danger of being stolen if you have announced it to the public. As more people become aware of your product, there are thieves planning how they can steal the design of the product you are trying to introduce. Thieves may go to any lengths to get your idea, even visiting any event that showcases your invention, just for the chance to copy the fundamental mechanisms that make it work. After they obtain these pieces of information, the thieves can start building their own versions of the product and patent it themselves.
The Design Has Been Shown to the Public
Avoid displaying confidential information to the public, especially if your design itself hasn’t been patented. That includes the complete set of plans for an invention, since thieves could get their hands on your blueprint and take the design or idea that you have. To avoid it from happening, try to refrain from uploading any confidential information that could lead to data leaks.
Plenty of Counterfeit Versions
One way you can know if your product’s specifications and mechanism have been stolen is if you started seeing counterpart versions of it on the internet. This could mean that some ecommerce website is displaying your invention, often for a much lower price than what you are trying to sell yours for.
You Didn’t Associate Your Name With the Product
It is important for you, as an inventor to associate the product, device, or idea that you create to yourself. Inventors who fail to associate themselves with the device or idea that they created are in danger of having their inventions stolen by somebody else claiming it as theirs. This scenario can be avoided if they are proactive in promoting security for their ideas.
You Gave Out Too Much Information
You shouldn’t be too trusting of anyone, and you should not give out confidential information about your product to people you do not trust. If there is a lot of information that has already been given to your competitors, chances are, your ideas were stolen by someone who heard you talk about it, or even saw one of your prototypes.
As an inventor, you should always work with the patent office to make sure that every idea you have in mind is registered under your name. You should also be wary of digital thieves that have become more prevalent in today’s society. The rising number of intellectual property cases has prompted several associations of inventors to band together and protect their members from being targeted. They are also working closely with the government and law enforcement so that they can immediately report anyone who may try to steal patented ideas.
For more tips as an inventor or business owner, check out more of our articles!