How can I protect my invention?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How can I protect my invention?

Hi, I am starting a new business and I cannot afford a
patent or copyright at this time but I want to sell my product
so I can save up for one. What is the best way to
temporarily protect my invention so I can sell it and collect
enough money to file for a patent after?
Thank you for your time.

Asked on February 24, 2017 under Business Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The best that you can do--and it is a poor second to patenting--is to have anyone you disclose any details to (e.g. anyone who manufacturers it for you) sign a confidentiality/non-disclosure agreement, in which they agree that they will not use the information for their own benefit or disclose it to anyone else. If anyone who signs the agreement violates it, such as by using the information you gave them to manufacture or sell their own version, you could sue them for breach of contract. But an agreement or contract only binds those who sign it; if some other person "reverse engineers" your invention or otherwise figures out how to build it, they can do so legally if you do not have patent protection.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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