If a new company is started with a specific productline(s), and new & existing employees are manufacturing the product, how do we, as a company, protect ourselves from employees taking the new product and starting their own business?
These employees are in the wood business, but they have NEVER manufactured anything like this before.
Don't confuse a trademark with a design patent. A design patent is a way to protect a specific product with unique features, a trademark is used to protect a product name, slogan, logo ,etc. I am currently in the process of getting a trademark for a product (brand name), not particularly difficult so far, but does take some time. They say it could take up to a year for the mark to be granted - if there are no conflicts found during the search. With a trademark you will be able to ,at least, differentiate your product from any potential copy cats. I'm not sure that I have the intestinal fortitude, or deep enough pockets, to defend a design patent, even if one was granted, so I feel that a trademark is at least some way of identifying my product and if granted is enforceable.
There is an old expression. You need a patent and a million $ to defend it. Itís an old expression so you probably need more than a million now. If your idea is unique and that easy to copy your employees are likely not going to be the problem. It will be an outside company. They will copy it and launch it to the market and the by the time you react they will be out there. If they change the product slightly it is very hard to defend.
For employees a simple non compete will fix your concern but I donít think that is worth the effort.
Im with Bill, Your employees are the least of your concerns. Social media, global manufacturing, will get you far before any employee can break out and setup to rip you off.
Seems to me the hope is that you have a product that is unique enough, some facet of it that makes a lot of people only want to buy it from you, or has enough brand loyalty, that you can survive the knock offs. Or you have a product/process/features that affords the patent process and the cost to defend it.
Rich's post is spot on, starting out a process with the paranoia that your staff are the enemy, is a recipe for failure. If you want to incent them to not rip you off compensate them or cut them in with a profit sharing agreement as well as the non-compete. At that point you will hopefully have a large percentage of them as soldiers in your army as opposed to the gorilla terrorist employees you seem to think they are by default.
Pat, excellent video.
Ken, what did you think of Paul Akers presentation?
I wouldn't worry about employees. Few would have the drive, time or $ to knock your product off.
Marketing will probably be your biggest challenge if you try to do it alone.
The first sign that you have a great, $ making product will be when the market is flooded with the Chinese version.
I agree with Rich C, this seems like a re-post from a week or so ago, just under a different name. Funny on the original post how the OP asked a question , got some good responses, and never once was heard from again. This post seems to be heading in that direction also.
Ken, your focus/concern is way off. I can't think of any better way to ensure tension inside of your company, which is not a good thing. Wouldn't it be easier to post a sign on the shop floor stating that you are better than them and they should just be happy to work for you?
The product line you mentioned is the uniqueness have to do with form or function? If it is form then just file a copyright on it, see the attached PDF. It will cost around $50 the copyright office will give a 90% boilerplate rejections of the application but if you resend the copyright application and restate why your design is unique you will get a 90% chance they will accept it. If you want a lawyer to file it will cost $150-200. If you file the copyright within a year of the product going into production and if you go to trail and win against the company that infringes on your copyright, that company has to pay your attorney's fees. It is more likely an attorney may take your case pro bono if they know all their fees will be paid.
Click the link below to download the file included with this post.
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