Legal Question in Intellectual Property in Pennsylvania


I have a new product/invention idea that I would like to eventually market and sell. I'm completely new to this field. I can't personally build my product so I would have to get product engineers in on this to create some prototypes for me. The idea is not patented yet, so what measures can I take to avoid anyone stealing my idea in order to have it not only brought to life (by product engineers), but also market the prototype to venture capitalists? I understand that I can have anyone I speak to or deal with, sign a non-disclosure agreement. Will that completely protect my idea until it's patented? Also, where can I get a non-disclosure agreement form to take with me? Must I have a lawyer draw one up?

Thank you so much for your help!

Asked on 8/30/13, 6:18 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Patrick Tracy Patrick J. Tracy, Esq, P.E.,
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There is significant risk to your venture by not involving a patent attorney in your project. The first thing you need is a prior art search to see if there is existing art that would obviate your invention and make it non-patentable.

There are a number of decent patent attorneys in the Philadelphia area that could work with you on this project. Contact a registered patent attorney for further assistance.

Good luck!

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Answered on 8/30/13, 6:24 am
Gerry Elman Elman Technology Law, P.C.
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As a registered patent attorney in Delaware County, PA, I concur with Mr. Tracy's suggestion.

To answer an aspect of your inquiry more specifically, there is no legal tool that will provide 100% protection. Yes, a signed confidentiality agreement with anyone (other than your attorney) to whom you disclose the invention will be essential. It's best to have such a document tailored to your specific situation by your attorney, but, yes, you can probably find a "one size fit's all" version in various books or on the Web.

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Answered on 8/30/13, 6:59 am

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