Selling an Idea

Selling an Idea

Date: November 03, 2008

Selling an Idea

How do I protect my intellectual property and still move it along in the sale process if it is not yet patented?
Sound familiar? Lately, that question has been asked most frequently by our members to our IdeaBuyer staff.

Well, let me first say that you need to get your intellectual property protected before it slips or is ripped from your fingers. Patents are the best way to do this. However, something important to understand is that patents protect inventions and not ideas. Without something tangible produced from your patent is not worth much. The USPTO only can legally protect those who do something with their idea. So, before filing for a patent or provisional patent, create a prototype or model.

If you do not yet have a tangible example of your idea, with or without a patent, use caution when
talking to others. Your idea should be on a strictly “NEED TO KNOW” basis. If they don’t need to know, don’t tell them. You only set off the chain reaction for them to go tell others and for one of those others to capitalize on your idea.

For those whom you decide “NEED TO KNOW”, have them sign a non-disclosure agreement. The
contract will ensure that both parties involved understand that the conversation(s) you have about your IP will remain secretive. And if for some reason the person violates that contract, you have the
documentation necessary to file a law suit.

Still, the best way to protect your IP is to create a working prototype as proof of your concept as soon as possible. Only a patent will protect you, and only if you have visual embodiment of your idea.

So let’s talk patents. You will need to patent your invention idea prior to selling it. While there are many patent attorneys available, you will want to be sure to work with one that has experience in your invention idea’s industry. Idea Buyer offers a number of it’s patent attorney’s at a discount to it’s members. For a free consultation to get your IP patented, call 832-683-1527.

I would like to share a way of thinking about IP sales:
“Selling intellectual property is like selling a cake. Show the buyer how good it looks. Show the buyer how good it smells. Let the buyer taste how good it tastes. You can show them why it will work and why it will sell, but you don’t have to give them the recipe.”

About the author of this article:
Lindsey Yeauger is the Director of Communications for Idea Buyer LLC, a new product development company that owns and operates The Online Marketplace for Intellectual Property. The site gives inventors the opportunity to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers. You can email her at