Protecting Your Ideas

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During a recent get together with some girlfriends, I came up with the idea to create a card game to go along with my upcoming book, Don’t Ask and I Won’t Have to Lie.”

Since I’ve never done anything like this before, I had to do some research to see what goes into creating such a product.

Here are a few tips:

1. Check to see if there is another product out there like the one you want to create.  In my case, I was checking to see if there was a card game with the same name and the same concept. 

1. Put all your ideas, notes and drawings in a  journal, and have it signed, witnessed and dated. Be careful about disclosing your ideas to anyone—use a confidentiality or non-disclosure document when discussing your ideas.  My attorney also advised me to have all of my “doodalings” notarized, mail it back to myself and store it unopened in a safe place that I will remember.

2. Determine whether or not you need a patent, copyright or trademark.  A patent is very expensive so before you wipe out your bank account you need to be sure you are not trying to reinvent anybody else’s wheel.

How is a copyright different from a patent or a trademark?
According to the U.S. Coyright Office, copyright protects original works of authorship, while a patent protects inventions or discoveries. Ideas and discoveries are not protected by the copyright law, although the way in which they are expressed may be. A trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, or designs identifying the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishing them from those of others.

To learn more, check out this article on 10 Steps to Protecting Your Great Idea by Score.org

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