A successful Innovation Action Plan must include a system for identifying key innovation-related events and evaluating innovations prior to those events. In some situations, you can lose the opportunity to protect your innovative ideas by making a public disclosure of the idea. Here are five types of events that should trigger an innovation analysis in your organization. Prior to each of these events, check to see if you are going to disclose key ideas that are not yet protected.
- Trade Show Participation – Will you be demonstrating or discussing innovations (including Intellectual Property) that is not protected? If so, consider taking steps to protect those innovations prior to the trade show.
- Article (or White Paper) Publication – Check for any innovative ideas that are announced publicly in any articles or documents.
- New Product or Service Announcements – Any type of public announcement, such as press releases and broadcast interviews, should be evaluated for innovative ideas that have not yet been protected.
- Advertising Campaigns – Do any of your advertisements disclose company innovations?
- Sales Presentations – Will the sales presentation discuss innovative ideas contained in your products or services?
In my work as an Intellectual Property attorney I have seen many companies accidentally “give away” innovative ideas because they publicly disclosed the ideas before they were properly protected. You can avoid this problem by identifying innovative ideas that will be disclosed during any of these five events. Then, decide whether any steps are needed to protect those ideas prior to public disclosure.