IP Basic Survival

So where does Caveat Emptor fit in?

It's You. Your goal is to buy something with your invention: money, fame, life-style, a patent and so forth. One would think because you have the desirable item, folks will do anything for you. This is a naive perspective. Keeping and maximizing the return from your IP is hard-core war; entities will do anything to steal it from you; as its perceived value increases, the battle will get uglier.

This does not mean you should not attempt making a fortune with your invention(s), just know that it is not easy, clean or fun. Enough pessimism - let's start at a beginning.

Trust No0ne

Sounds like The X-Files? Well, in the IP world, it is safe to assume that whomever you are talking to, knows more than you. Not necessarily about your invention, but how to take it away from you.

I have a buddy, Don, who is a pretty good entertainer. He had a really catchy name for his group. Their manager filed and was awarded a Copy write on the name. He proceeded to sue and win against the band that he managed!

Confidentiality Agreement

NDA Example

Assuming that we are playing by the rules set forth in the Constitution and followed by the USPTO, anybody (even cousin Alfonso) you speak to about your invention needs to sign a Confidentiality Agreement. This agreement can be used in a court-of-law should someone you tell your story, try to use it in a way you had not defined.

You should always visit with a attorney that specializes in Patent Law or a Patent Agent at the beginning of your project. These pages serve only as an outline and are not intended or to be used as legal advice!!

A Patent Agent is a professional, many times a scientist or engineer, that has taken the Patent Agent bar exam, passed, and is authorized to practice before the PTO. Unfortunately, they are usually found only in big law firms or corporations, are less expensive than an attorney, and harder to find.

When seeking out a new physician, I will always send a letter requesting an interview, at no cost to me, to see if I want to trust this guy with my life. If they say "no" or don't have the courtesy to respond, I can cross them off of my list entirely.

It is the same with the Confidentiality Agreement: No matter how much they whine, or promise or cuss, if they won't sign - don't tell them shit!

The Confidentiality Agreement obligates them to your best interest. I cannot stress this enough; even your wife, girlfriend, mother, significant-other must understand the ramifications and sign.

Think of how many people get married, sign-on "`till death do us part" and then get divorced. People change their minds and if you don't have a signed agreement, there is nothing to hold them to any promise.

More to come.