“I don’t want anyone to steal my idea” is what I hear every inventor tell me when they step into my office. I couldn’t agree more. Over 600,000 patent applications are filed each year and each inventor is hoping that they have an idea that’s unlike any other and has been filed before someone else with a similar idea. You cannot control what people think. And chances are, someone may be facing a similar problem as you which can cause them to have the same invention as you. So how in the heck are you able to safeguard your idea to ensure that it doesn’t get stolen? Here are my do’s and don’ts for applying for a patent: – Don’t tell friends and family about your idea before you apply for a patent – Don’t file for a patent without knowing if your idea is patentable. Not every idea can be patented or should be patented! – Do conduct a patent search before you apply for a patent. Google searches unfortunately do not count. You don’t want to throw time, resources and money into filing for a patent without conducting a search. There’s no use in worrying about someone stealing your idea if in fact you’re the one infringing on someone’s invention. – Do file for a provisional patent application (PPA). Once your PPA is filed, you’re able to openly discuss your idea (which is what you’re dying to do now). Provisional patents are a valuable resource for those with a limited budget who still seek out protection. Those are my super quick tips that I tell every inventor I meet with. Once your idea is out in the open, there’s not much anyone can do to protect your rights. Avoid the hurt and anger of having your ideas stolen by protecting yourself with a patent.