Here’s what you can do:
- Complete a thorough search for similar patents, trademarks, and copyright (if applicable). Prior to being worried of others stealing something from you, ensure you aren’t infringing on someone else’s invention.
- Register for a trademark. Because your brand could blow up (in a good way) after appearing on a crowdfunding site, it’s important to protect it ahead of time.
- Think about applying for a provisional patent. Importantly, you have one year to do so after publicly announcing your product in the U.S. After the one-year window has closed, patent protection is unavailable and you lose the right to file a patent and be the exclusive producer of your invention. It’s worth pointing out that you’ll have to “produce” your idea in order for it to be patentable.
- Make sure you understand the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act as there are a bunch of legal requirements to abide by. If applicable, failure to ensure compliance beforehand could potentially cost you down the road.
- Compare the terms and conditions of the various crowdfunding sites to find out which offers the most protection for participants who find themselves in this situation.
- Think about not disclosing super important stuff. This may be difficult as investors like to be informed of everything, but it’s certainly an option.