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How Do I Securely Present A Product Idea To A Company


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#1 Guest_jonarves_*

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 08:07 PM

Hi.

When I did this search on google; "How do I securely present a product idea to a company". I got tons of good recommendations.
Not all is good though, Like "patent it first".. and other approaches that's very product depending.

But the answers I got from this search, didn't tell me what I really wanted to know.
What I really want to know is; "how do I tell a company about my product idea, in a safe way over email, without allowing them to take it from me?"


Is there any got trick or way around this situation?


Question 2:
When I did the search I mentioned above, I found this web-page http://www.davison.com/ .
Could it be a good idea to use such companies? ..an if it is.. Is there any other such companies that I should know of?

#2 Cyberdemon

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 09:12 PM

A couple things:

First off, the vast majority of professional companies do not want and will not listen to unsolicited ideas, especially over email.

The reality is even if you have a great idea, ideas take a huge amount of time, money, and resources to productize. You are almost never going to get to the level within a company (even small ones) where someone would make that decision based on an outsider. They do not want to be involved with any legal disputes that may arise, and companies generally don't have stacks of money sitting around to "buy ideas". If you were a company with a product or technology that they wanted to integrate into their portfolio, thats another story. But that involves you productizing it and taking on the risk.

Frankly, in this day and age my general stance is if you think your idea is that novel and carries real commercial demand your two choices are:

1: Productize it yourself. Set up a business plan, find venture capitalists who are willing to listen to your pitch, and launch your business based on this product. This is the hardest step but in reality thats what almost every inventor would have had to go through and thats the only time you'll ever hear of a company talking about how they got their idea to reality AND did it successfully (and many times unsucessfully). This requries not only a great product idea but the knowledge to execute it AND run a business.

2: Publicize the heck out of it. Get some nice renderings, build a website about it, and post it to whatever blog, internet sites, magazines etc that it may be relevant to. If it's something that compelling that a company would have interest in it they will work on getting in touch with you. This is also the quickest way to find out your briliant idea was actually thought of by someone else 6 months ago but you couldn't find their product on Google.

Neither of those options are good or easy, but nothing about bringing something to life is. That website you posted only lists junk products sold on late night TV infomercials. A toilet brush for cleaning your car wheels? Binoculars shapped like a giraffe head?

#3 Guest_jonarves_*

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 10:49 PM

Brilliant answer, but ...

A couple things:

First off, the vast majority of professional companies do not want and will not listen to unsolicited ideas, especially over email.

I 100% agree with you, but I was not thinking of sending a portfolio and trying to sell my products in the same run.
Thats a stupid approach, and probably one of the easiest ways to put your email in the company's spam-list. :)

I have already a product that I'm talking with a company about. And they tell me to send drawings and more information on email.

So my question is; how can I email my product to the company without giving away my product idea as a freebie?


The reality is even if you have a great idea, ideas take a huge amount of time, money, and resources to productize. You are almost never going to get to the level within a company (even small ones) where someone would make that decision based on an outsider. They do not want to be involved with any legal disputes that may arise, and companies generally don't have stacks of money sitting around to "buy ideas". If you were a company with a product or technology that they wanted to integrate into their portfolio, thats another story. But that involves you productizing it and taking on the risk.

Frankly, in this day and age my general stance is if you think your idea is that novel and carries real commercial demand your two choices are:

1: Productize it yourself. Set up a business plan, find venture capitalists who are willing to listen to your pitch, and launch your business based on this product. This is the hardest step but in reality thats what almost every inventor would have had to go through and thats the only time you'll ever hear of a company talking about how they got their idea to reality AND did it successfully (and many times unsucessfully). This requries not only a great product idea but the knowledge to execute it AND run a business.

Very important subject.
Theres allot to learn from this, and everybody who have a good product idea should try this at least once.
It gives tons of valuable experience, that will bring you on a total new level of understanding when you are going to turn product ideas into new products.


An successful inventor friend once said to me:
"If your protuct is that great, and you have so much faith in it, why don't you sell everything you have and start producing it your self?"
..and I realized that my product idea wasn't that great..
Then he asked me: "If you don't want to risk anything on this product, how can you expect others to do so?"
..After this conversation I went home and discarded allot of "great" ideas.


The "problem" with the main product that I'm working on right now, is that theres is a limit to my level of expertise, that can probably only be filled by existing companies who already produce similar products. ..so I want to sell it to the right people.

2: Publicize the heck out of it. Get some nice renderings, build a website about it, and post it to whatever blog, internet sites, magazines etc that it may be relevant to. If it's something that compelling that a company would have interest in it they will work on getting in touch with you. This is also the quickest way to find out your briliant idea was actually thought of by someone else 6 months ago but you couldn't find their product on Google.

If your product is 100% design based, this could be a good way to ensure that nobody could steal your product.
But if you are serious about what you are doing, then you don't publish your designs and renderings on many different web-pages.
You choose carefully, because you ultimately want others to discover you, and to get others to bring your work forward.

(!) If you want to patent the product you are working on, then publishing the product is a very bad approach!
Most patent directives all over the world, clearly states that an idea or invention that has been displayed to the public, can not be patented. (I don't have the exact words, but look it up!)

So if you have a product idea that has a function that could be patented, then publishing it could make it worthless!

Neither of those options are good or easy, but nothing about bringing something to life is. That website you posted only lists junk products sold on late night TV infomercials. A toilet brush for cleaning your car wheels? Binoculars shapped like a giraffe head?

LOL !
Thanks, I will stay away from them. :)

#4 Cyberdemon

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 03:53 PM

So my question is; how can I email my product to the company without giving away my product idea as a freebie?

(!) If you want to patent the product you are working on, then publishing the product is a very bad approach!
Most patent directives all over the world, clearly states that an idea or invention that has been displayed to the public, can not be patented. (I don't have the exact words, but look it up!)

So if you have a product idea that has a function that could be patented, then publishing it could make it worthless!


If you have already been in talks with a company and do not have the option of coming in and presenting the idea directly I would say your best bet would be to ask the person you are disclosing this to to fill out an NDA. This is how we operate anytime a vendor comes in to disclose new technology.

Additionally, at least in the US you have 1 year from the time you disclose your idea to file for a patent. The date you start broadcasting it is considered first disclosure which means if someone comes and trys to patent your idea (this is for a utility patent, as the design patent would easily be gotten around) you can go back and say "I first disclosed this idea on XX-XX-2010"

Granted you have to have the money for the legal battle which will ensue, but if you don't have money for the patent in the first place you probably don't have much of a choice.

Intellectual property is a long, drawn out and complex process with many steps. If you truly believe you have something big your best bet would be to speak with an IP lawyer to understand the regulations in your area. Even then a patent without the legal team and money needed to fund a lawsuit is effectively just a bargaining chip. The vast majority of the world violates other peoples patents but they get away with it because that company is violating something else. It's almost like the cold war, where everyones patents are a nuclear missile but if everyone started launching them off it would be beneficial to no one...except the legal team.

In general, most people don't want to steal your idea. Especially if it is for a very niche market application where the ability to realize profit off that idea isn't as high as many would think. I've had this conversation with a dozens of people and students before, and to this day I don't believe a single one has had an idea that has moved on. Those who took their idea and productized it themselves are the only ones who have had any success.

#5 Guest_jonarves_*

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 03:29 PM

If you have already been in talks with a company and do not have the option of coming in and presenting the idea directly I would say your best bet would be to ask the person you are disclosing this to to fill out an NDA. This is how we operate anytime a vendor comes in to disclose new technology.

Nice! Then we are back to my main question.
So how do you send an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) over email?
Do you fill it out, and ask the other person to sign it, and scan it and send it back. ..or do you ask him/her to send it by land-mail?

There's probably many ways to do this, but I'm only trying to figure out what is the normal way to do this.

Wen I'm sending secure information over mail, I usually send it to the main receiver and a "copy to" someone else.
Then the receiver get information in the email header that it has been sent to him/her, and a copy to..
If there should be any disputes or in worst case theft. Then I can refer to the person who got the copy, and he/she can prove my case.
Do you think that's sufficient?

Additionally, at least in the US you have 1 year from the time you disclose your idea to file for a patent. The date you start broadcasting it is considered first disclosure which means if someone comes and trys to patent your idea (this is for a utility patent, as the design patent would easily be gotten around) you can go back and say "I first disclosed this idea on XX-XX-2010"

Granted you have to have the money for the legal battle which will ensue, but if you don't have money for the patent in the first place you probably don't have much of a choice.

....

In many ways I think it's pretty unfortunate that the US has this patent "grace period". Because they are probably the only country in the world who has it, and many US designers and product developers thinks it's the same rules in the rest of the world.

Fortunately for you, the 1 year "grace period" for design protection is getting more common in other countries, but it's still not the main rule in the rest of the world.

So if you publish one of your ideas in a public media, then You can basically only get it patented in USA and a few other countries in the future.
And if someone wants to produce it in Asia, and sell it to the rest of the world, then they can do so whiteout asking for your permission. ...

#6 Cyberdemon

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 04:52 PM

So how do you send an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) over email?
Do you fill it out, and ask the other person to sign it, and scan it and send it back. ..or do you ask him/her to send it by land-mail?

Wen I'm sending secure information over mail, I usually send it to the main receiver and a "copy to" someone else.
Then the receiver get information in the email header that it has been sent to him/her, and a copy to..
If there should be any disputes or in worst case theft. Then I can refer to the person who got the copy, and he/she can prove my case.
Do you think that's sufficient?


Email them the form, ask that they sign it and either fax or scan/email it back to you. It's clumsy but it gives you their signature on a piece of paper.

Never heard of the CCing thing. Not sure that would actually hold up in any court given the ease of faking most email headers these days.

In many ways I think it's pretty unfortunate that the US has this patent "grace period". Because they are probably the only country in the world who has it, and many US designers and product developers thinks it's the same rules in the rest of the world.

Fortunately for you, the 1 year "grace period" for design protection is getting more common in other countries, but it's still not the main rule in the rest of the world.

So if you publish one of your ideas in a public media, then You can basically only get it patented in USA and a few other countries in the future.
And if someone wants to produce it in Asia, and sell it to the rest of the world, then they can do so whiteout asking for your permission. ...


You're right - frankly I'm only up on what patent law effects me as an individual, otherwise a big corporate legal team handles everything else.

Of course the flip side is true. If you get an idea patented in your country and someone decided to manufacturer it and sell it in China, you are still out of luck. Even if they sell it in your country, you need to have the money to start a multi-national legal dispute and chances are you won't.

Goes back to my original point of IP law only being so valid, and only in specific tactical ways. A patent without a legal team is like a warhead without a missile. Powerful but useless.

Which is why I stand by the original point of - if the idea is that good, pitch it to VC's under NDA and productize it before anyone else. If you are first to market with a great product the patent/knockoff side of things will be mostly irrelevant.

Just look at the US craze of the "Snuggie" - a cheap felt blanket with sleeves that through awful marketing has made a killing, and even though there are tons of people trying to sell the same thing (the "Slanket") they're able to sell product based on name and marketing alone. While this may be a rare example, I can think of plenty other areas where it applys. If you come out with a great product, by the time your competitor shows up with a knockoff of it you should already be on to your second product which is even better than the first.

If theres no long term strategy for your product it means it has the same risk as so many other products. It will be commoditized (even with patents) and resold by other people for less - unless you have a long term strategy for differentiation and evolution.

#7 Guest_jonarves_*

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 06:15 AM

I think I found the solution...

3 easy steps on how to share your product idea with a another part over email, without allowing the other part to misuse it.

1) Make sure you have good communication.
Make sure that the person you are giving the idea to, is the right person to share it with. ..and not just another curious person.
Don't be afraid to do a web-search on the person, and the company he/she works for.
It's actually a part of your security to have a good feeling about things.

2) Use an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) or Confidentiality Agreement:
NDA's and other written agreements, is probably the most important tool you get for securing your product ideas.
Most patent offices provide NDA's for free. ..and you can even make your own.
I personally prefer a very plain and simple Confidentiality Agreement from my favorite patent office in Norway.

The most important parts of this document is:
- The subject: "the name or description of your idea or invention".
- Your name and/or company name.
- The name, date, place and signature of the receiver/s.

Fill out the subject and your data before you send it, so the receiver just have to sign it.
Because you don't have to sign it before you send it, you can actually just mail it as a standard text file.
And if the receivers wants a copy with your signature in return, then you can use a Fax-Machine, Scanner or even a standard Digital-Camera to give them a legal copy.

Get a copy of the signed version by email and/or land mail.
Make sure that the signature is a legal signature, and not a cut and paste jpg or a stamp.

3 Send the secure mail:

Before you send anything! Make sure that the documents or the email, has names or descriptions who's referring to the subject description of the NDA. So the NDA gets "securely connected" to the email and the files.

A very easy way to send the secure mail, is by using www.lockbin.com ...Just follow the instructions!

----
A more personal and almost as easy way to send secure email, is by using a zip software with built in encryption functionality. (I use and recommend 7-zip)

Encrypting the files with 7-zip:
- Select and right-click all the files and folders you want to zip.
- Choose "7-Zip > Add to archive"
- Add a unique password
- .. and push OK
Test the file before you send it! ;)

Attach the file to an email, and send it.

Deliver the password by phone or a text message, (not by email).
----


Also in general, its a good idea to always chose "Reply" when you answer emails. In this way, you get the whole dialog in one email, and that's pretty hard evidence itself.

That's it! :D



If anybody find any faults or flaws in this "recipe", please tell me about it ASAP. :)

#8 ramprasad571

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 08:29 AM

Will a flash clip be the right option to ensure that the ideas/concepts/sketches/layouts are not available as open files / documents ?




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