How can I protect the company name if I decide to launch the product in a crowd-funding platform?

UPDATED: Feb 2, 2015

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How can I protect the company name if I decide to launch the product in a crowd-funding platform?

The product does not have a utility patent yet. What is the best way to protect the idea of the product?

Asked on February 2, 2015 under Business Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You can't protect ideas--anyone who hears an idea can use it, unless he or she signed a nondisclosure or confidentiality agreement of some sort. Of course, just knowing an idea doesn't necessarily help someone, unless the idea is so simple than anyone who hears of it can act on it; that is, I could hear of a great software idea, but not being a programmer or software engineer, can't do anything useful with it. So you do not want to disclose information or details that would allow someone else to implement your idea--only disclose information that is non-actionable. If, on the other hand, the idea is such that anyone who hears it can effectively take it and run with it, then do *not* use crowd-funding. As stated, anyone who hears an idea can use it, so you can't disclose an idea to the crowd and expect that it will be protected. If this is the sort of idea that is only safe so long as no one hears of it, then use some other funding route--such as looking for an angel investor, family investment, investment from a few friends, etc.--where you can have the would-be investors sign a confidentiality or nondisclosure agreement before sharing the idea on them.

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