Innovate This!

7 Tips for Protecting Your Invention: Secure Your Ideas

by | Mar 21, 2024 | 0 comments

Invention ideas and patent

It’s tougher than ever to shield yourself from copycats and imitations. In my view, using a patent may not be the most effective way to protect your ideas in today’s world of intellectual property. I’ll share a business perspective on the best strategies for protecting your invention in the current vibrant and challenging landscape for entrepreneurs and inventors.

Disclaimer: I’m not a patent attorney. I am not giving legal advice. 

Protecting Your Product Through Licensing

The best way to safeguard your product is by licensing your idea to an existing company. Look for a business that values “open innovation” and is eager to collaborate with you. Choose a company that understands the importance of staying competitive through fresh ideas. By licensing your idea to such a company, you not only expedite bringing it to market but also enhance its protection.

Today, speed is key. The quickest route to securing shelf space is by partnering with an established company. In the fast-paced world we live in, being the first to market is crucial. Look for a company with strong ties to retailers, a legal team equipped to tackle copycats, and ample resources. Opt for a business with excellent distribution capabilities, ensuring they can sell swiftly and efficiently.

If your product does well, there’s a good chance you’ll see similar products or even copycats popping up in the market. It’s just the way things go these days. Trying to prevent all the copycats can be costly and time-consuming, and even big companies struggle with it. Take Apple, for example – a giant in the business – and even they can’t fully protect themselves from imitations. The odds for us are quite slim, so we need to take a different approach.

7 Tips For Protecting Your Invention

Here are my tips and strategies to safeguard your invention in today’s dynamic and exciting environment.

  1. Create a New Product People Need

Ensure your product is genuinely new and addresses a common problem that many people face. This makes it more likely to be in demand. Having a distinct feature compared to competitors will increase the chances of licensing it to a company.

  1. Submit a Provisional Patent Application

Take your time to file a provisional patent application that covers not just the problem and solution but also considers the manufacturing and some variations. This kind of info is something only you, the inventor, can gather and put together. It helps establish your ownership in the eyes of others. Moreover, it provides you or your licensee with the option to file a non-provisional patent application within a year if needed.

  1. License It to a Company

The top-notch way to protect your invention is by licensing it to a company in search of fresh ideas. Look for businesses that welcome open innovation and are eager to collaborate with you. 

Choose a company with a proven history of crafting fantastic products, solid distribution channels, and a loyal customer base. By licensing your product idea to such a company, you can leverage their quickness to hit the market first.

  1. Streamline Your Product Manufacturing

Ultimately, cost matters most. Creating your product with the least amount of expense provides you with a big competitive advantage. It’s even better if you can come up with a distinctive design that is difficult for others to imitate.

  1. Be Original & Authentic

Build a group of loyal customers by showcasing your originality.  Let everyone recognize you as the creator of this product. Nowadays, the battle isn’t just in federal court; it’s in the court of public opinion.

  1. Keep Innovating

Continuously enhance your product idea. Keep innovating to stay one step ahead of the competition. Understand people’s preferences and make ongoing improvements to ensure your product remains in demand.

  1. Use Other Tools for Intellectual Property Protection

While a patent is useful, it may not be enough. Since it takes time to get one, there are additional steps you can take to prevent online sellers. Copyright all your content, make sure your name is trademarked, and if you have a unique design, consider filing for a design patent.

Planning ahead may require a small-time investment, but it can prevent issues with online sellers. Utilize the strength of an existing business. Contribute valuable ideas to the company and create products that customers desire. Keep innovating, be the pioneer, and cultivate a loyal fan base.

Your partner, as a licensee, can convince retailers to remove imitation products.  They likely have a legal team that can assist with other issues as well. Therefore, seek out a partner equipped with the tools to safeguard your idea.


  • Stephen Key

    Stephen Key is an award-winning inventor, renowned intellectual property strategist, lifelong entrepreneur, author, speaker, and columnist.
    Stephen has over 20 patents in his name and the d...