A manufacturer asked to see some prototypes and samples of my work so that they can give me an idea of the costs of producing the product for me to commercially exploit. Is there anything I should be aware of and what can I do to ensure I am protected?

This is a relatively common situation and the risk is that an unscrupulous manufacturer could decide to  take your product, produce it themselves and sell it as their own. Many people approach commercial situations with good intentions, however, it is wise to err on the side of caution. There is a simple way of maximising your protection in this situation with the use of the ACID Intellectual Property Agreement.This is a short agreement that you would give to the manufacturer and ask them to sign before sending them any prototype, or sample of your designs.

The agreement outlines that you are the owner of the samples and any intellectual property rights. The manufacturer by signing the agreement would acknowledge that and also agree not to do anything with the samples without your written consent. Of course, even if they sign the agreement this does not mean they will not do anything wrong. There is no guarantee. However, if they have signed the agreement then you have in writing their confirmation that you own the designs and that they will not misuse them.

Without such an agreement they could complicate matters by alleging you gave them permission.

Last update on 06.08.14 by the ACID Team.

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