What kind of documentation do Inventors Need

There are a couple documents that any inventor working on getting an idea to market need as they will be working with service providers.  Protecting your intellectual property is critical to success.  The first one is a non-discloser/non-compete (NDA/NC).  I do a video specific to this topic so I am just going to give a limited explanation on this one.  The NDA is something you need to be prepared to ask for signed any time you work with a service provider.  

If you ever need to hold someone accountable on infringement, a judge will always ask if you had that person sign an NDA.  If you say yes, then you have the means to hold them accountable.  If you say no, well a judge will probably throw your case out.  So if you are in the stages prior to being “Patent Pending”, then you need an NDA.  I recommend taking it one step further and getting the Non Compete as well.  This protects you beyond someone just talking about your products, they can’t steal your idea and try to make it their own either.

What kind of documentation do Inventors Need

The one person you do not need to sign an NDA/NC is your attorney.  You are protected there by attorney client privilege.

I get a lot of inquiries about whether a business plan or marketing plan are necessary documents early on.  They aren’t.  You don’t have a business.  You don’t even have a product to market.  You have an idea.  Don’t waste valuable time on prepping long term plans.  It’s way to early for that.  

The next document you need would be the work for hire agreement that you can provide an engineer.  Let’s assume you’ve done your patent search and are working with an attorney on your patent application.  If you have not filed that patent application to put you in the status of Patent Pending, then make any engineers you work with sign the NDA/NC.  The work for hire agreement is something drafted that details your idea and concept.  It gives an engineer more information on your idea.  Engineers can’t read your mind and the agreement helps them visualize the thoughts/plans in your head.  This enables them to give you a more accurate estimate of the time and cost to work up a prototype and you definitely want an estimate before proceeding.

If you’ve got pictures/images from the comprehensive patent search that you can provide as well, those are most helpful.  It helps establish parameters for the engineer to work with.  If you’ve managed to construct any type of rough prototype, even if it’s in legos, take that too.  Engineers can do a lot with a rough protype and you telling them what you want to accomplish with it and what the parameters of your patent are.  Going with nothing at all leaves a lot of room for an engineer to charge you for trying to conceptualize your idea.  There will be a lot of back and forth to make corrections and you will end up with a bigger bill than your bargained for.  A good engineer will always ask what your patent attorney gave as parameters because they know not infringing on other patents is important.  However, if they ask to see your patent, find another one.  Most engineers are familiar with the process and realize a prototype is usually completed prior to a patent being issued.

What kind of documentation do Inventors Need

Just a quick FYI, if you have extremely limited funds, a makers space may be a good option for you but you will still need to give someone there something to work with.  Ask me for more info about this if you’re not familiar with the makers space option.

Your registered patent attorney and the engineer designing a prototype will be the two people you talk to the most early on.  I also make that list, especially if Search Quest is handling your comprehensive patent search.  

If you need an NDA/NC or a template for a work for hire agreement, just reach out to me. I am happy to send these to you free of charge because I don’t want anyone to get taken advantage of.  If you have other questions or are looking for guidance in other areas, please join us on one of our virtual meetings, we offer multiple each month.  I am also always available via my email of phone number found on my website, www.inventorlady.com.



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