How can I bring on the help I need to start my business while protecting my idea?
I have an idea which needs to be developed by smart and trusted IT engineers using algorithms. I have researched my idea in depth and believe it could end up being a huge business enterprise. How do I get the help I need while protecting my idea?
You'll want to hire an adviser for yourself. Also, you will want to be involved in every aspect and be the only one to 100% truly understand the concept behind the idea.
Congrats on comping up with an idea. I echo many of the recommendations below. Don't discuss anything with anyone without an NDA first and foremost. Also, go find a good IP/Patent attorney and get some advice on submitting the idea or concept for patent or trademark protection.
Good evening Ravi. Thank you for sharing this question with us. I've read a fair amount of the other responses and all of them make sense and are really great answers to your question. I have just a little extra to add which comes to the fact of you understanding the legislation in your country or the country you want to unleash this idea. In my country for example, Brazil, you have some legal tools to prevent someone to "steal" your idea but in USA, just to make a quick comparison, those tools are different. Once you understand how you can protect your Intellectual Property accordingly, I suggest you nor only sign all documents and make all involved parts to do the same but also try to split the project among your team so none of them get to know the hole but a fraction of it. It may severe the amount of their contribution but will get you an extra protection for your project. In the end always remember that nothing is 100% certain and even with all protection you may think you have, the best way to do it is to surround yourself with trustworthy people, a strong and reliable team.
I'm curious as to how you could have validated this proprietary algorithm without some sort of automated support.? As I'm sure you know there is a huge difference in developing a working model in something like Excel and an "industrial" implementation. Have you considered self-development of a working model? If nothing else, it can be used by IT folks as a functional specification.
The best way to protect something beyond your power or means is to give it away to people you -think- you trust and see how it comes back to you. You may find you're not the boss or that you're immediately venture funded. Today that exists easily in the Free Software Foundation, GNU and the GPL. Be sure to put up a lot of adverts or marketing material that you invented that something great
Use an NDA, a non-compete, a non-solicitation, an assignment agreement, offer equity to get signatures, protect your IP with trademarks, trade secrets and physucal and encryption security methods, tell others onlywhat they need to know, obtain copyright regristration, and apply for patents, call 6174592797
Distribute and delegate tasks of your idea over multiple 3rd party services like a recipe so that no one entity has all of the ingredients.
As a Professional Futurist and owner of a young Consulting Practice, my clients are predominantly new start-ups or innovators with ground-breaking ideas but not the budget to turn to big name consulting firms to help them where they lack know-how. Generally how it works, is that I have to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) to ensure I cannot even mention on the market who my clients are (complete confidentiality) so that even the chance of someone squireling information out of me through manipulative conversations is diminished. And should I be found to have leaked client information, the client can pursue legal action against me.
Its not a flattering situation for the consultant, but it's understandable and I am fine with it. Just the same, in your case, if you engaged IT engineers to work on an unique idea and they want to earn from you, it's fair that you draw up an NDA ensuring silence, which they have to sign before commencing work on your project.
Even in employment, I have worked for organisations, where prior to signing the employment agreement, I have had to sign such NDAs to ensure privileged information from within the organisation, remains within the organisation. To ensure this is not violated, I have had to exercise convenient amnesia, meaning, the moment I step out of the work place, I have completely lost all memory of what happened or what I heard or what I saw during my work day, from the second I stepped into the work place. For example, I conveniently do not remember much of what went on during my time with a former employer. If I do, it could prove costly for me. Not the best way to secure trust, but it is a secure step. You can create such NDAs for your employees.
Most people who are competent, they don't want legal trouble. If they know they have signed a tightly drawn up NDA, they will not betray you.
Off course, where the NDA is signed and enforceable is a factor. For example, in some countries, cases can go on for decades and even after the culprit is proven guilty, if he is still alive, he could still walk free with hardly any penalty and the plaintiff is wondering what he got out of the case.
Singapore has very strong and strict laws and it is a hub for innovation. Perhaps you may want to establish a base here and pursue your project within its jurisdiction. You will have no trouble finding the suitable talent pool to support you. If you wish, I can help you set-up in the country.
Congratulations on coming up with that elusive idea and I am sure you will receive a lot of suggestions and comments on how to move forward with that burning question.
In my experience, you cannot "fully" protect an idea without having an architectural concept or prototype. Before you commit to spending money on expensive legal fees, ensure that you have a product/service prototype together with the architectural process or simply put, a Minimum Viable Product. Once you have this, you can then patent the concept, modelling and process architecture.
After all, if you intend to seek investment, you will need to demonstrate how the idea works as a business and in the case of test marketing, a minimum viable product will enable you to gauge the traction from potential customers who will be able to touch, feel, experience and comment on it - invaluable information and data for models and process development as well as value propositioning.
But here's what I'd suggest. Find someone "a person" with the skills and technical ability that can help you build a working prototype and here's why...!
You will have to trust someone at some point otherwise you will not realise your idea, unless of course you can deliver a prototype yourself which is not the case at present. I would also offer them some equity in exchange for their services either as a co-founder or in another capacity you both feel comfortable with. This will give anyone an extra incentive to protect your "business" idea as they have a vested interest.
This allows you to tie them in with patent ownership clauses and non disclosures in any agreements or contracts. This route will also enable you to develop a "working" model that can be used for test marketing. It is only from this point that I'd suggest patenting your "prototype", not the "idea", which, in any case, is not a tangible product or service.
I don't know of any investors that invest their money without seeing a working model and certainly, none will sign an NDA.
Final thoughts...I hope your idea is one that does more than become a hugely profitable enterprise, but one that offers solution based services or products.
Hope this helps. Feel free to connect if I can be of further help.
Good luck and I wish you success.