Do you think you have a revolutionary app idea and are afraid that it will be stolen from you? Should this idea be kept confidential? How can you protect your idea? There are several ways to do this, such as enforcing what is known as the confidentiality agreement. However, does it always make sense to keep your project secret?
How can I protect my idea?
In England, it is not possible to legally protect a simple idea. Only technical processes can be protected. In the case of an application idea that does not fall within this framework, you can always sign a confidentiality agreement.
A confidentiality agreement is an agreement obliging the signatories not to communicate on a project as well as the private information concerning it. You can sign it with your partners, your developer, or more generally with all of your partners, current and planned. When you sign a confidentiality agreement, two clauses are particularly important:
- The title of your idea. It is essential to define precisely what you want to keep secret. There must be no ambiguity about this definition. Too broad a definition will be very restrictive for signatories since almost all information relating to the project will be considered confidential;
- The duration of confidentiality. We advise you to put a long duration, but limited in time. You don’t know in advance when your project will actually be launched, so it’s best not to take any risks.
To write one, you can call upon a lawyer specialized in your field, he will be able to advise you.
Why shouldn’t I protect my idea?
When an entrepreneur is convinced that he has a revolutionary box idea, his biggest fear is to have it stolen. In reality, this fear is unfounded.
Indeed, it’s not the idea that will make the business successful. The idea is only a small part of the success of a project. The business model, knowledge of the market, of the competition, and especially the team that will develop the project are much more important than the basic idea. Hundreds of apps are coming out every day and these aren’t the ones that seemed to come from a better idea that work best!
The need to communicate about your idea
The problem with the confidentiality of your idea is that you cannot communicate on it. However, it is very important for entrepreneurs who embark on their project to make themselves known. This can be by:
- Entrepreneurial and business plan competitions;
- Business Angels;
All this communication work can open doors afterwards, for example if you want to raise funds. An investor who receives your business plan on his desk will read it with more enthusiasm if he already knows the project.
In addition to this, this communication will help you to pitcher your project better and better, which will be useful when you have to convince customers, partners or even bankers.
The need to have feedback on your project
The real concern with the secret of your idea is that you cannot get feedback on it. Even if there are two, three or four of you working on a project, it is necessary to collect external opinions. When you work on a project for a long time, you no longer have the necessary perspective. Potential customers will be able to challenge your idea and put it into perspective with their own consumer experience.
If your project is to launch a new application, it may be interesting to have a few target people test a first version of this application, a beta version. You can then adapt this version according to the feedback you get.
There are two reasons why some entrepreneurs refuse to disclose their idea:
- Or they consider that they are capable of knowing intuitively the needs and expectations of an entire market;
- Either they are afraid of receiving negative reviews about their project.
In either case, it’s a mistake on their part.
Anyway, don’t be afraid to go out on the field, pitch your idea or show it off if possible. This will allow you to adapt your project to your market while there is still time!