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How can I secure my idea at the beginning of the process vs my subcontractor engineer whom I hire to implement my idea?

And the same question regarding all possible manufacturers that I need to contact to find out the prices to check the profitability of my potential product?

2 Answers 2

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This is usually accomplished using a non disclosure agreement.

However, you also need to consider that the engineer might make some contributions that amount to making them a co-inventor. You will want an agreement that has them assign any rights they may legally have to you or your company. Such an agreement does not change who actually invented what but it gives you the rights that initially accrue to them as an inventor within the scope of your project.

All inventors need to be named in the patent application.

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  • 1. "assign any rights" or "transfer any rights"? The former might mean that both me and he can claim rights in his contribution; the latter - means that he doesn't claim anything in his contribution... Jan 7 at 17:47
  • 2. as for marketing - I want somebody to create 3D photorealistic images of the product, before I start application for the patent; if the guy steals my idea or passes it to his friends/relatives (who might be able to commercialize the idea faster than me) there will be no impact on his reputation. What should I do in such a case? Will I be able to prove later on during patent filing that I was the real author of the idea? How can I prove that I and not his friend X was the author of the idea? Jan 7 at 18:06
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    There are issues over the exact wording of an IP agreement but if he conceptually contributes to something claimed in a patent then he is an inventor. Informally, if more than one person is an inventor on a patent they are called co-inventors. His conceptual contribution can not be erased or ignored but the rights that confers can be assigned to you. There is a subtle distinction between him (we are assuming) pre-assigning his future rights before he starts and him agreeing, in writing, to do so when an invention is actually made.
    – George White
    Jan 8 at 17:08
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    You can document your interactions and search for a trustworthy worker. Inventions are invented not authored.
    – George White
    Jan 8 at 17:15
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    @user1876484 Having the contractor assign their rights to you means you own the invention even if the contractor is listed as co-inventor. It is the standard for contractor agreements and should be in the contract. If they attempt to steal your invention, you sue them.
    – Eric S
    Jan 8 at 18:01
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From one of your comments:

I want somebody to create 3D photorealistic images of the product, before I start application for the patent; if the guy steals my idea or passes it to his friends/relatives (who might be able to commercialize the idea faster than me) there will be no impact on his reputation. What should I do in such a case? Will I be able to prove later on during patent filing that I was the real author of the idea? How can I prove that I and not his friend X was the author of the idea?

You really should consider filing a provisional patent application. These are generally easier to file and will provide one year of protection to allow you to draft and apply for a non-provisional application. This will provide the proof you need to show you are the inventor.

That said, you could consider contracting with an actual product development firm. They would have a lot to lose if they violated confidentiality. This would probably be somewhat more expensive than a solo contractor but I've never heard of a product development firm stealing inventions, ever.

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  • 1. 3D photorealistic images will be made by a freelance 3D modeler/graphic designer... I don't think there is a product development firm that does this... 2. I actually wanted to apply for my application in China and via PCT. And in China they do not have provisional patents so I'm still not allowed to use my invention openly even if I get a US provisional patent... So - (a) is secrete cooperation under NDA with third parties is considered disclosure of the idea under Chinese law? (b) in a case that a third party anyway steals - can I use a US provisional patent in a Chinese court as a proof? Jan 8 at 19:57
  • (c) is there any advantage of a provisional patent over a timestamped blockchain evidence actually (that can be used in China)? Jan 8 at 20:09
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    I’m not experienced with Chinese patents. For most of the world, patents go to the first to file, not first to invent. In the US and almost every other country, a time stamped blockchain is of no value at all in filing a patent. It might be of use in suing someone for theft of IP.
    – Eric S
    Jan 9 at 17:01
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    @user1876484 It is better to post new questions as questions rather than comments. However, I'll try to provide some useful comments. You don't need and probably don't want photorealistic images. Patent figures follow certain rules and there are specialists for providing them. You patent attorney (and you should use one) should be able to connect you to a patent draftsman. Communications under an NDA are not considered public disclosure and are the standard means of assuring this. As for a US provisional providing utility for a PCT or Chinese application, please post that as a new question.
    – Eric S
    Jan 9 at 17:28

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