Q: With a Provisional Patent; What are next steps to keep secure while shopping invention?
I have a gaming/dining table I am marketing with the provisional patent in place. What what be the best moves to make next in terms of trade secrets, non-competition agreements, non-disclosure, copyright, etc.?
A: You need to get connected with an attorney that has been down this road many times before. You will need a non-disclosure/non-use agreement that is used with folks that are given access to your design.
To the extent that you work with vendors to improve your design, the paperwork needs to be clear that their improvements flow to you without additional compensation as you are already paying them to be smart.
Each state has an organization that helps small businesses that is partially funded by the federal Small Business Administration. In North Carolina it is SBTDC.org. In Maryland this agency is called Maryland SBDC http://mdsbdc.umd.edu/.
I suggest you set up a meeting with a counselor there to go over these questions and perhaps some questions that you have not even though of yet. These counselors live vicariously through many startups. Often they know local attorneys with the right job skills to help a young company.
BTW – do not say provisional patent. It is a provisional patent application or just provisional application. One of the fundamental differences in patent law is the difference between an application and a patent (like egg and chicken, not all eggs hatch)
I hope this helps.
Kevin E Flynn
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