Why you shouldn’t spend money to protect your idea

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By Shed Simove

It’s very easy to think of ideas creators as eccentrics, tinkering away down in their workshops. But, I believe that it is important to recognise that anyone can be inventive. These days,  we can all come up with a great idea for a greetings card or a new novelty product – or even an app that could change the world, and then find an expert to help us make this idea a reality in a couple of clicks. You don’t have to be an engineer to do start making an idea come to life, you can find someone online to help you very easily these days.

Once you come up with a great idea and decided how you are going to make it happen, it’s common to get a pang of worry about other people copying you and stealing your thunder.

After selling one and a half million novelty gifts, I always tell people the same thing: If you come up with the way to create something which will categorically and fundamentally change the world, then yes, you should consider spending your time and budget on trying to protect the idea.

Notice that I said ‘trying to protect’. It’s often very easy for someone to tweak an idea very slightly and then make another version of it. But, if tomorrow you crack a way to make a car engine run on water, then you should possibly spend some money on protecting that idea, because this will be something that’ll alter the car industry (and human development) for ever – and you should most certainly be the one to reap the rewards of your genius! But for your other ideas, spend your money on making a great product or service, and on getting that amazing creation known in the world.

Concentrate on creating

Most new ideas are simply variations of an old idea and, actually, what people view as a ‘new idea’ is often an existing idea that’s been executed in a better way. And that’s because of the decisions of the person who’s behind it, made every step of the way during its development.

When you start to create something, rather than spend a lot of your effort or money on patenting, trademarking or copyrighting, it’s  pretty much always a better strategy to concentrate on creating and distributing your idea so that people will remark on it and fully engage with it too.

Should I get a patent?

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to patent something, and in fact, you can only patent something if it has an ‘inventive step’. For many of the ideas that I, and many other people, come up with you don’t need to patent, but you can still take protective steps by trademarking it and design registering it, which are way cheaper.

You have to be very careful about going into the patent process, it’s often lengthy and expensive. So, rather than worrying too much about about protecting your idea, spend your valuable money and time to make your idea the best it can possibly be, then to shout about it from the rooftops as loudly as you can.

Shed Simove is a motivational speaker and part of the Thought Expansion Network.