How to Legally Protect Your Ideas When Hiring Freelancers in the US?
If you are running a business, chances are you have worked with freelancers at some point. Although they bring diverse experience and expertise to the table, one must not compromise on confidentiality or compliance when it comes to disclosing sensitive business details. Ensure the contracts are signed and the terms are explained, so your inventions and ideas stay protected.
1. Leave Sensitive Details Out of the Job Description
When you are preparing a job description for hiring freelancers, make sure that you do not disclose details about the proprietary idea. As job descriptions are posted publicly, you are essentially sharing details of your business to the world. This could lead to people using your ideas and concepts without your knowledge.
But that doesn’t mean you should completely limit the information you share with them. Your job description should outline the skills required for the project, the tools, deadlines and key responsibilities involved. Once you receive the response, you can start shortlisting candidates, interview them and then go into details.
2. Have Freelancers Sign an NDA
Freelancers will need access to information about the project inorder to add value to it. This is precisely why you should have a non disclosure agreement (NDA) in place. The NDA subjects the freelancer to confidentiality. You must discuss the scope of agreement with the freelancer before onboarding them. Be mindful of the kind of information that you are willing to exchange, what happens if they misuse it. Hire a lawyer to build you a fool-proof NDA or you can build one yourself. You will find hundreds of NDAs on Google which you can use as reference. Have it reviewed and signed by the freelancer.
3. Manage Compensation
One way to ensure that your confidentiality remains intact, you can pay the freelancer after the completion of the project. This will ensure two things: you can review the work and suggest points of improvement. Secondly, you will be assured that details of your projects are not leaked before it’s finished.
4. Patent your Ideas
Apply for a patent to keep your idea safe. Draft an assignment agreement for the freelancers before onboarding them. Under US Patent Law, the owner has the sole right to prevent others from using, selling or copying her invention. You need to apply for a patent at least two years before onboarding contractors. The assignment agreement ensures that you have the sole right to alter, modify or replicate your invention or idea.
5. Hire A Lawyer
Hire a good business lawyer and have him help you manage the legal side of the business before onboarding freelancers. Understand your rights and laws. Get legal advice on copyright infringement, trademark, and filing lawsuits. Have him draft a foolproof contract and have him analyze contracts that others want you to sign. Various rules protect employers and freelancers from breach of contract. A lawyer also offers a range of other legal services for your business which comes in handy if you run into any legal hassles.
Always work with professional freelancers who understand your business laws and terms. It is always best to build a repository of good freelance resources, so you don’t have to search for one when the time comes.
Freelancers are always a valuable addition to your team. They help ease workflow, solve problems, help bring expertise on niche topics and complete projects ahead of the deadline. Mistakes and breaches do happen occasionally. But if you have legal processes in place and have all the necessary paperwork in place, you can enjoy a genuinely fruitful relationship with your freelancers.