One of the most difficult challenges faced by independent inventors and entrepreneurs is finding companies that want to license or buy the rights to their inventions or new product ideas.
Well, our Ultimate Inventor Resources includes a section Companies That Accept Product Submissions From Independent Inventors that lists such companies. Note that these are NOT invention marketing companies. Rather, they are real manufacturers with their own product lines that want to add new products and have indicated that they are willing to talk with inventors about adding their products.
But first, be sure to protect your invention by filing a provisional patent application so you have “patent pending” (i.e. a serial number and a filing date for your invention at the patent office). You can file a provisional patent application using our patent preparation service or using our Provisional Patent Application Filing Kit.
Additionally, you can use a Non-Disclosure/Non-Compete (ND/NC) Agreement (see your patent attorney or do a search online for a free one) if the particular company will sign one. This gives you immediate contractual protection if the company discloses or manufactures your invention or new product idea. Therefore, you do not need to wait until a patent would issue on your invention (a several year process and your idea might not be patentable) to stop the company from ripping off your invention or new product idea.
However, most larger companies have their own disclosure agreements and will not allow you to submit your invention or new product idea unless you sign it. These disclosure agreements usually state that your product disclosure to them is NOT confidential and that your only protection (if any) is that provided through the U.S. Patent Office (hence your previous filing of the provisional patent application).
The main reason that larger companies have such disclosure agreements is they are developing their own products in-house and do not want you to later claim that you disclosed a product to them that they were already developing on their own.
Note that while you can use a ND/NC agreement alone as contractual protection against having your invention stolen by a company, you do not have “patent pending” and thus this approach is more risky. Furthermore, if you do not have “patent pending” nor a signed ND/NC agreement before submitting your invention or new product idea, then you are setting yourself up to have it ripped off. Note that this is a general statement of advice and in no way is meant to reflect upon any partuicular company or individual.
Also be sure to do your homework first on any company you are thinking of approaching. Look at their product line(s) to be sure that your invention or new product idea is a good fit. What are their product submission requirements? Will they sign a ND/NC agreement?
Again, here is the link to our Ultimate Inventor Resources:
and to our “Companies That Accept Product Submissions From Independent Inventors”:
Brian R. Rayve
P.S. Be sure to ask your patent attorney or read our other posts about the ramifications of a “public disclosure” by not using a ND/NC agreement when disclosing your invention or new product idea to companies or other persons (even if you have “patent pending”).
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