Home Forums Starting your journey Can an idea be protected without a patent?

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    I’ve read that it can be difficult to get a patent – you first need proof of concept, not to mention the time and money involved in filing for the patent etc.

    So how does one go about protecting their idea if it’s not something they are able to execute on their own? And if you first need proof of concept to patent an idea, how do you stop someone else with more resources and a stronger network from beating you to the patent?

    I watched a video which suggested that so long as there is a record of when and who came up with the idea, the intellectual property is generally protected. Is this true? What about posting an idea in a public forum?

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    Sounds like you’re getting a lot of misinformation by reading and watching videos :(

    Make an appointment to speak with a patent attorney…several if you want to compare opinions…and then make an informed decision.

    Oh, and in the meantime, don’t tell anyone about your idea!!

    Wendy :)

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    Hi Haros,

    I think Wendy may be right… patents are a complex area to understand, so advice should be sought.

    That said – a couple of general comments (noting this is not provided as advice):

    “Ideas” themselves are not generally protectable as patents (or, simply because you were the first to have an idea). A patent is the right granted to a method, process, device or substance that is new, inventive (or in some cases innovative) and useful.

    As Wendy said – don’t tell anyone your ‘idea’ until you’ve got proper advice from a patent attorney. A patent must be new – so, if you disclose it too soon (including on a public forum) you might lose the opportunity to protect it if it is in fact something patentable.

    If you need others to help you manufacture or execute your ‘idea’ – then it’s a good idea to have them sign Non Disclosure Agreements. Also, consider whether (if your ‘idea’ does translate to something with patentable products) the filing of a provisional application in Australia. This can ensure you have the earliest date to your ‘invention’ recorded – so you can more freely test the commercial viability of product.

    how do you stop someone else with more resources and a stronger network from beating you to the patent?

    As noted, a patent must be new – so, if the ‘idea’ is published somewhere or publicly disclosed etc it may no longer be a valid patent (be it in your name or someone else’s) – sometimes people do choose to publish their inventions/ideas for that purpose – of ensuring no-one else can patent it (noting – simply publishing doesn’t necessarily give you rights, but, can prevent others from gaining a monopoly.

    You might find this tool http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/get-the-right-ip/choosing-the-right-ip/ with the Intellectual Property Office useful in understand if or what protections might extend from your ‘idea’.

    I again stress that the above is provided for information purposes only and is not to be taken as advice. Each situation is different. A consultation with a patent attorney is strongly encouraged so that you can proceed to filing of appropriate applications if applicable to protect your IP.

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