I run into people with this problem from time to time: They have a great business idea, but are afraid to talk about them with anyone because they’re afraid it’ll get stolen. Does this sound like you? If so, read on about three legal tools that will help protect your valuable business ideas.

NDA, or Non-disclosure agreement. Business ideas many times need to be shared with others, for example, a manufacturer, distributor, or vendor. Have a non-disclosure agreement handy for these situations. A properly drafted NDA will help ensure these third parties keep your information and ideas confidential. Our LIFT Foundation System includes a template Non-Disclosure Agreement or we can draft a custom agreement for your business.

Non-compete / non-competition agreement. You may need to people that will help bring your idea to market. Have a non-competition agreement handy for all employees and independent contractors to prevent them from leaving your company and taking your idea with them. While non-compete agreements are generally unenforceable in California, they may help under some circumstances. Call us to discuss.

Work-for-hire agreement. Anyone you may hire to help you refine or improve on your product or service creatively, such as with web development, design or copywriting needs to sign a work-for-hire agreement that clearly states you retain complete ownership rights over all improvements or revisions made to the product or service. This ensures you retain your rights as the inventor or developer of the product or service.

Here’s the truth of the matter: you have to get your ideas out into the world for anything to come of them. If you don’t, someone else will. So take action now to give you the comfort you need to broadcast loudly what you are doing. We are here to help.

If you’re a small or mid-size business owner and would love us to help you with these agreements and make sure that all of your intellectual property is poised for growth, call us today to schedule your comprehensive LIFT (legal, insurance, financial and tax) Foundation Audit. Normally, this session is $1,250, but if you mention this article and we still have room on our calendar this month, we will waive that fee.