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How To Protect Your Business Idea Without A Patent

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Compiled by: Benisia Kwafeinge Nghiivali

Many upcoming entrepreneurs are afraid of pitching their business ideas reason being that, getting the rightful ownership over it might be very expensive and their ideas will be stolen. As a matter of fact, it is natural for one to fear his/her idea from being stolen sometimes.

Here are some affordable tips on how you will protect your business idea. According the author  Stephen Key (May 9th 2013) of Small business heroes: How to protect your business idea without a patent, retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226595 and extracted on the 28th  June 2019 at 11:45. He said, “before you begin working with anyone new, be it an individual or organization, do some research online. As an entrepreneur you must find out if the business you want to work with has a good track record and also find out any complaints about that business practices”. Besides that, a lot of thieves are targeting upcoming entrepreneurs in Namibia. For instance, an article in the Namibia Sun newspaper of the 10th August 2017 it warned people to be aware of the Sanlam loan scammers.

Stephen added that, the greatest idea is to form beneficial relationships with your greatest competitors this will also protect your idea. He pointed out that, “When one launches his/her own novelty guitar pick business, he/she must hire the largest producer in the industry to manufacture the picks. They had little motivation to rip a person off because they are already profiting from the success of your business. By giving them business, you as an entrepreneur you will not be seen as a threat (even though, in reality, you share the same market space)”.

Stephen further added three legal tools and one is a Non-disclosure agreement (NDA). In this tool he emphases an entrepreneur to have anyone to work with; to sign a non-disclosure agreement that commits them to confidentiality and this agreement is between two parties not to share information with the third parties.  He said, “if the agreement doesn’t have an expiration date, that’s powerful”. This is very helpful in time of disputes, a signed document is a proof that a certain agreement was made and as an entrepreneur you must never agree to anything without signing.

Secondly he stated a Non-compete agreement in which he mentioned that, “if you hire someone to help you, have him or her sign a non-compete agreement. A non-compete agreement prevents an individual or entity from starting a business that would compete or threaten yours within an established radius”.

His last tool is a Work-for-hire agreement. In this tool he said, “if you hire someone to help fine-tune your product, make sure to establish that you own any and all improvements made to the idea. Anything they come up with, you own”. After month then, you can apply for a patent as soon as your business can afford it from the Ministry of Trade and Industry and ensure your business is legally recognized.

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