In today’s world companies have to innovate to stay competitive, so they’re always looking for good ideas and it is in their interest to be in good standing with inventors.
I’m sure you’ve heard stories about company stealing ideas, and yes! It has happened. But this is not the norm. That being said, it’s very important to do your homework on any company that you are working with to make sure they are inventor-friendly. Here are some things you can do to proect yourself from unscrupulous actors:
- Find companies that are willing to accept outside submissions.
- When reaching out to them, make sure you ask about their process to find out how do they work with outside product developers/inventors. Clear procedures are usually a good sign.
- Get recommendations from other inventors about the companies that are inventor-friendly.
- Google anyone’s name then complaints or lawsuits. It’s up to you to do your homework. There will be many situations where companies will have worked on a project similar to yours.
We recommend finding good companies and submitting effective marketing materials that show the benefits of your idea. If they ask for additional information, then that would be a good time to ask for an NDA. Typically they will not sign yours, so you’ll need to review and sign theirs. Make sure to read all the fine print, and if there is something you don’t understand, have a patent attorney look at it.