Capturing Your Intellectual Property

Innovative ideas can occur at any time. If you’re like me, some of your best ideas “pop” into your head at the most unexpected times.

These innovative ideas may be important intellectual property assets, so it’s important to capture them quickly. In today’s busy world, we are bombarded with new distractions every minute. A single great idea can make a huge impact on your business. That’s why it is important to implement systems that allow you to catch your intellectual property rapidly before it “escapes your mind.”

For example, it’s important to capture new product ideas, changes to current business processes, new book ideas, inventions, website design changes, and new marketing ideas. These items are important to your business and can set you apart from your competitors.

Here are several ways to be sure you and your team are always prepared to capture your innovative ideas:

  1. Carry a pen/pencil and paper with you at all times. Get a small pad of paper (or Post-it® Notes) and a pencil that easily fit in your pocket or purse. Also, keep a pen and paper wherever you tend to come up with ideas: your car, the nightstand next to your bed, near your exercise equipment, the bathroom, and the kitchen.
  2. Use your smartphone. You can use your smartphone’s note-taking application or a voice recording application. Or, send yourself a text message or call your voicemail and leave a message for yourself.
  3. Email also works to record your ideas. If you send an email to yourself, use a special format in the subject line so you can easily search for those ideas in the future. I do this by starting the subject line with “[IDEA]” (for example, Subject: [IDEA] Write an article explaining how to use provisional patent applications). This allows me to quickly find all of my ideas by searching for “[IDEA]” in my email account.
  4. Use an application like Evernote. These applications let you record your ideas and keep them organized. You can also share the ideas with other team members.
  5. Put a white board in your office or other location just for creative ideas. I have a white board in my office that is used exclusively for innovative business ideas related to my current projects. I can quickly jot down an idea for future reference.
  6. Create an “idea board” or “idea wall.” Several of my clients have an idea board in a public place in their office. Anyone can write ideas on the idea board. This can be very effective because one idea can trigger another idea from a different person, and so on. After a few days, the idea board is full of great ideas. Be sure to take a picture of the idea board every few days so you don’t lose any valuable ideas.

Start implementing at least one of the above techniques to make sure you don’t lose any valuable ideas.

For more information about protecting your intellectual property, download my Free Intellectual Property Checklist at

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(4) comments

Shaye July 31, 2018

Nice list! If one uses a white board or any electronic product which doesn’t automatically provide a record for your ideas, would it be prudent to photograph it or is there another way to protect your idea?

    Steve July 31, 2018

    Thanks Shaye. Yes, I typically take a photograph of ideas on a white board or flip chart. I email those photos to myself and store them in an “Ideas” folder on my computer for future reference. This works best for me and keeps my ideas organized.

Rhonda Peterson July 31, 2018

Love these ideas, Steve. So many good ones. Step One: I’ll be adding a tag called “ideas” to my Evernote.

    Steve July 31, 2018

    That’s great Rhonda. Evernote is a fantastic way to organize your ideas!

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