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The Law Office of Joan I. Norek

        Intellectual Property

            Chicago, Illinois

                                                    w w w . n o r e k l a w . c o m



About Pages

Who Protects Copyrights
Copyright Registrations
Disclosure Documents
Domain Names
Idea Theft
Idea Theft Avoidance
Intellectual Property
IP Symbols
Inventors and Assignees
Names as Trademarks
Naming and Branding
Patent Applications
Meaningful Patent Protection
Patent Infringement
Patent Interferences
Patent Marking
Patent Reexaminations
Patent Term
Patent vs Trade Secret
Patents vs Trademarks
Patenting Business Strategies
Provisional Applications
Provisional vs Non-provisional
Public Domain vs Patents
More on Trademarks
Trademark Infringement
Trademark Cancellations
Trademark Oppositions
Trademark Registrations
Trademark Registration Process
Work For Hire




This-or-That Pages

Copyright vs Patent
Patent or Trademark It
Patent or Trade Secret It
Trade Secrets after Patent Filing
Provisional vs Non-provisional



Protect Against Idea Theft


Someone stole your idea, and you want …   Avoid this with a few precautionary steps.

 Step 1 – Bound notebook:

  • A bound notebook, and not one with pages that tear out.  A bound notebook, preferably with pre-printed page numbers.

  • Record your ideas and after-thoughts, and date each entry.

  • Have each filled page witnessed.

  • The witness or witnessed preferably sign a statement on the page which states that the page “has been read and understood” and then sign, date and print their name and address.

  • The witness must read and understand before they sign that statement.

  • Buy another bound notebook when you fill up your first.

 Step 2 – USPTO disclosure document program or copyright affixation:

  • Collect your ideas on a given subject from your bound notebook and record them on separate sheets of paper.

  • Do not mail them to your self, registered or otherwise.  (Hey, there is no way to be certain what is in the envelope without opening it, and then you are back to zero.  Courts give little to no evidentiary weight to this gimmick.)

  • Make at least one photostat copy of the sheets.

  • If your idea is an invention (useful rather than artistic or literary), file your sheets under the USPTO disclosure document program.

  • If your idea is subject to copyright protection (artistic or literary rather than utilitarian), affix it in a tangible medium to satisfy the first requirement of copyright protection.

  • If your idea is a slogan, seek assistance for slogan trademark protection.

Step 3 – Search:

  • Do a check to see if the idea is already known.

  • If you do not find it, check further by having a professional patent or trademark search conducted.

 Step 4 – Confidentiality Agreement:

  • You need a confidentiality agreement before you disclose the idea to third-parties.

  • But note that established companies routinely refuse to look at outside ideas unless you sign a non-confidentiality agreements.

  • Also note that disclosure to an attorney is already protected under the attorney-client confidentiality ethical requirements and attorney-client privilege.

 Step 5 – Have it patented or registered, if possible:

  • Once you have secured protection via patent, copyright registration or trademark registration, if someone infringes your rights, you have recourse via an infringement lawsuit (and contingency-based actions are possible).

  • See an experienced intellectual property (IP) attorney for this step.  In my practice I routinely see do-it-yourself attempts that have failed to protect what was needed to protect, and it normally is too late to correct the situation.

Somewhere along this road a hard look should be given to the value of your idea, to objectively determine the value of the idea before investing any further time or effort.

other topics - about patents, patents vs trade secrets, corporate patent applications, entry-level patent applications, patent it or not, patent ready, patent myths

questions, inquiries - contact the firm (all contact modes) or call 312.419.8055

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The Law Office of Joan I. Norek
25 E. Washington Street, Suite 1400
Chicago, Illinois  60602
Tel.  312.419.8055   Fax 312.236.6686
Contact the Firm


Patents • Chemical Patents • Trademarks • Copyrights • Searches, Applications

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Copyright © 2004 - 2014 Joan I. Norek, The Law Office of Joan I. Norek 
All rights reserved.
noreklaw, noreklaw.com and PatentAttitude are trademarks and service marks of Joan I. Norek, Chicago, Illinois.

Use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship.  This website provides information and resources but is neither legal advice nor a substitute for the legal advice of an IP attorney.  Retentions are subject to the discretion of the firm.
This website was designed and constructed by Joan I. Norek.