How do I protect my idea early on?


I had my product idea a few years ago and have been working on it sporadically since. I’ve shared certain aspects with friends but I’m now looking to outsource some of the design but don’t know how to protect my idea. Should I look into getting a patent or are there other options?


Hi James, this is certainly a concern for a lot of inventors and I’d recommend speaking to a Patent Attorney for professional advice or if you are Australian based having a look at the IP Australia site.

My advice would be:

  1. Check you can patent your idea and there isn’t anything similar (Google Patent search is good for this)
  2. Decide if it is worth patenting your idea. A patent is only valuable if you can afford the legal fees to enforce it. Will this patent give you a massive advantage on competitors?
  3. Check if an NDA will protect you enough to outsource your work.
  4. Explore the option of a provisional patent.
  5. Last but not least, don’t not speak to potential customers because you don’t want to give your idea away. Work out a way to explain it without giving away your secrets. Sometimes not speaking to customers can be more damaging than not having your idea protected.

Hope this helps and let me know if you have any more questions.