When an entrepreneur has startup idea that he or she plans to implement, that idea is the most valuable thing that he or she will have at the start, a thought-out strategy for its implementation is a must that takes into account how to reliably protect that idea.
In order to implement the project, one will have to share information. This is not relevant when one has enough technical knowledge and skills to develop that idea into a finished product on ones own. However, more often than not, one will need to disclose that idea to others in order to create a minimum viable product or MVP and a prototype, write detailed technical documentation for the project, and more. The product concept, a unique algorithm, or technology are all also under the threat of copying and theft.
There are several ways how one can safeguard oneself at different stages of project development
In the world of tech and startups.
However, not all entrepreneurs have programming skills of fellow developers. They, one way or another, will have to contact outside experts who will help implement the idea. Sometimes when one is dealing with partners, investors or outsource suppliers, it is good to protect oneself by adopting a few legal and smart procedures.
Non-disclosure agreement (NDA)
This agreement is a legal document concluded in writing and signed by both parties, thereby confirming that the said project will not be discussed with any outsiders.
The entrepreneur and the developer (investor, designer, etc.) agree on the rights that relate to the disclosure and use of the idea. The text indicates who owns intellectual rights to the idea or the results of work. It is written in the document: who owns intellectual rights to the idea or the results of work.
Such agreements can be concluded by people who are not registered as entrepreneurs, that at the initial stage of startup development can be convenient for its founder. However, in order for it to work, it is necessary to spend time developing the formulations of the document. In addition, it is not always easy to describe the idea clearly.
It happens, that not all developers like to sign papers and assume obligations, or they may simply not want to work under the condition of signing the NDA. Find only a vendor who will agree to put his signature on a non-disclosure agreement.
Registration of know-how
A more powerful means of protecting the idea, which is already in the implementation phase or a ready algorithm, business model, prototype, is receiving know-how license which will protect the valuable information from publicity carefully. Violation of your secret of making is a serious crime.
Document the fact legally that an idea or product was implemented before competitors , this can really play an important role in subsequent proceedings.
The concept of know-how has nothing to do with the registration of a patent for an invention or with the procedure for registering ownership.
Patent and know-how both can be similar by their technical solution, and radically different as for a choice of protection of the object of intellectual property. For example, in the case of a patent, the technology is patented and you tell the whole world what your technical novelty is, and with know-how, on the contrary, you keep the features and the novelty of production secret.
What needs to be done:
Establish the procedure for handling and monitoring the know-how;
Register persons who have access to know-how;
Introduce commercial confidentiality.
Get good lawyer
Other Legal and Important Steps:
An effective way to protect your product from cloning and copying, but it is a rather complicated approach. Register the name of the trademark for all functions and services implemented in the application. Badges, symbols, logos, slogans, phrases, and other elements associated with your application will limit your competitors and help you legally protect your ownership of the product. A trademark may be used at the design stage. Once you have received the finished design of your product, you can safely apply for the registration of the trademark.
This is a stronger legal way to protect your rights to a product than a trademark. However, its design is more laborious and expensive. You can start with a pre-patent, which is issued for one year and provides some protection.
As previously mentioned, the start of the project should ideally begin with the release of the minimum viable product. In addition to being effective from the point of view of implementing a successful project, it also provides protection for your idea and project. Once an MVP is published and publicly available, your idea is protected by copyright as the first published. Just like books, applications are protected by copyright law. Additionally, you will get an advantage in the market.
In addition, you should write about your copyright in your application. A copyright notice will significantly reduce your competitors' attempts to use your product for copying or cloning.
Do not spare investment in development. Professional and highly skilled specialists will cost you more, but you will get a product with a thoughtful architecture that cannot be hacked and from which code cannot be copied.
Domain Name With A Product
A good name has a strong effect, and buying your domain at an earlier time than a competitor's registered trademark can solve many issues when it comes to resolving any disputes.
Groups or Pages With Name and Logos of Project In Social Pages Etc
As with the domain, good names also achieve good search positions, are well remembered, and become unavailable to competitors.
Set up notifications for the keywords and the name of your project so you will know when to exit similar applications and react in a timely manner to copies or clones of your product.
Frequent App Store Analysis and Monitoring
Do not be too lazy to monitor new items in app stores. There is a possibility that you will stumble upon a clone or a copy of your product and can begin to take action.
Divide and rule
The development process consists of many subprocesses which can be conducted by different teams. It goes without saying, when you are looking for developers for implementing your idea, you choose among various offers, and it’s not like you tell every potential contractor every detail of your business idea.
You can divide and distribute the development of your project through outsourcing software development among different teams and also keep your idea a secret since the developers even may not completely understand what the product they are developing will look like at the end. The software development process can be compared in this case to film production: pre-production stage, shooting period, film editing, creating a phonogram. You, like a producer, hire people to perform different tasks. The composer, for example, does not need to be present at the shooting. The actor may know only his passages and have no idea of the texts of other characters. The same is true for developers – they get tasks and may not have a clue of what is the final product.
Break work into parts and distribute it among different outsourcing development teams.
Bring the idea to reality fast
The best way to protect your idea is to realise it. Indeed, ideas are in the air, and they are able to emerge in different people at the same time. Here the speed comes to the forefront. And speed is always professional.
The only way to test and improve your idea is to share it with others. Sure thing that entrepreneurs are afraid that someone will steal their ideas and implement them earlier, having more resources. However, if you publicly tell about your idea, everyone will know that this is your idea. It is also crucial to develop your ideas into projects quickly and not procrastinate. The faster you launch your project publicly and market it, the less people will have a chance to steal it from you. And always keep on improving on your final product.