It is common for the entrepreneur who has a business idea to doubt whether or not to tell others about it. The truth is, according to experts, there are benefits to saying it.

The first is this It’s good to test our project with third parties so they can give us their point of view as they usually offer a more objective and analytical vision. In addition, verbalizing the project helps make its strengths and weaknesses more visible. Finally, we can also learn from the mistakes of others.

Experts say the practice of stealing other people’s ideas is more myth than reality. Both business angels and venture capital firms are looking for management teams more than ideas. Next, It must be taken into account that a company is as much or more the people who shape it than the idea itself.

Aimed at professional investors

The first piece of advice is to turn to professional investors: business angels connected to networks, venture capital companies, banks, credit institutions or the like. “The first parties interested in an ethical stance are themselves, because their reputation and continuity as a company are at stake,” says Juan Roure, Professor of Entrepreneurship at IESE.

Be extremely careful with non-professional investors: Don’t go to companies in the industry because they may have more capacity than you to start the idea and look for guarantees that they can be trusted. You must use your own intuition to guide you, but be sure to heed the advice below.

Keep the most important information

It just shows the tip of the iceberg. At the first meeting with the investor or potential client, just give them the general idea. It’s about creating a summary, the famous “convince in five minutes”. What do you want to do, what needs do you cover and what team do you have? And you won’t report how you’re going to do it until you’ve had several conversations and the investor is really interested. However, Try to keep the most important information to yourself that will differentiate you from your competitors. Emphasize the value of your team, experience and education. As an experienced investor, you know how to recognize the added value of managers, and as a customer, you only need to know the essentials.

Be the first!

It is important to keep deadlines in mind. “The further the development phase of the idea is from its implementation, the easier it becomes for them to copy it,” says Roure. Eugenia Bieto, Director General of ESADE, continues: “I have seen one idea triumph over the other because it was implemented so quickly. Accelerate the time from idea to implementation and avoid imitators.” Remember that in most businesses it is important to arrive first.

Don’t forget to register your innovations

When it comes to a technological project, it is essential to patent or register it. The value of the company can lie in this development. See the Patent and Trademark Office for all fees. Here are a few steps to consider.

If you are a company conducting investigations, carry out a patentability study of the sector, so you can see if you can really protect the results. Secondly, Conduct a patent renewal study, how much market you can cover and whether you are commercially interested in extending it to other countries. The normal is to do this for Spain, Europe, Japan, USA and China. And finally, you have to decide whether to market the patent yourself or license it.

When it comes to companies that don’t do research but have an idea to commercialize and lack research potential, they work in two ways: A patent is licensed to a third party who acquires the rights to use it for royalties, or you turn to them to someone doing research (universities or public institutions).

There is an organism called OTRI (Research Results Transfer Office), in charge of negotiating an agreement or contract to carry out a series of activities collecting confidentiality and exclusivity clauses and establishing ownership of the results obtained.

Solutions to prevent copying

Tagline in emails and documents. At the bottom of each email, or in the documents you exchange with investors and suppliers, you can add text indicating that the intellectual property of anything that appears in the email belongs to the sender of the message. With this simple text, the would-be pirate can resist the temptation to steal your idea.

Burofax urges the copy to be withdrawn. The office fax is a document that is reliable in terms of content and text and has the value of a notarial letter. A page with an acknowledgment of receipt and a text certificate costs around 20 euros. In it, you must state that you know that plagiarism has occurred and that if the copy is not removed within a specified period, you will take appropriate legal action.

seals. It is a system that allows to avoid counterfeiting. It’s a mark on the paper, usually visible in backlight, where you can put whatever legend you want. If you want to protect your property, include it in the trademark like this. There are digital watermarks to protect images from forgery.

Confidentiality Agreements

The considerations. It’s everything the confidentiality agreement relates to. This means, among other things, information, business, project or technological development.

the clauses. These are all specifications that we want to include in the contract. They usually refer to the following items:

The parts: are the natural or legal persons. If it is a legal entity, its legal representative must appear in the contract. The clauses usually also refer to the possible knowledge of other parties involved and the obligation to maintain confidentiality by third parties.
Definitions: In the clauses, the concept of reflections is usually expanded and the content that we want to subject to confidentiality is developed to the maximum.
Exceptions: Each confidentiality agreement contains an exceptions section that relates to the cases where it is possible to breach the confidentiality, usually relating to a mutual agreement or to the conditions under which the agreement can be terminated.
sanctions: The legal regulations or the jurisdiction to which both parties submit in the event of a dispute must be included.
Expression: The confidentiality agreement relates to a specific period of time, after which both parties are released from maintaining confidentiality.

The problem is that on the one hand it is “very difficult to prove non-compliance in court” and on the other hand that many investors do not want to sign them, as this will bind them and prevent them from signing other projects that come to them later.

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