Recently we were contacted by EPO (European Patent Office). They required some information from us regarding an application to a patent converting PDF to HTML5 forms. It soon became clear, someone was trying to get a patent what we and others had already developing for years. Luckily, we have been very open in posting on our blog so we were able to show lots of information in the public domain which predated this patent claim.
This led us to think about other companies and developers. People who have been working on their own software/product for months or years and keeping things under-wraps.
Some companies like to keep everything they do hidden so that their competitors (and potential customers) never know about them. What would they do in a situation like this? Why is it important to let the world know what you are up to?
If you have a really original idea, people will not steal it, they will laugh at you. You will miss out on all the feedback from potential clients. It is only when you show it works that the race is really on…
Where as if you announce your idea second, people will assume you are the copier, even if you had it first and there is this whole patent issue…
It is vital to you need to tell people what you are working on.
How can you make sure you create a presence?
There are many ways in which you would be able to create a presence for your self and the things you are working on such as:
1. Post articles on your Blog
Create your own blog, write about the things you are working on not only will this show perspective clients how serious you are it will also create a nice online presence that you have been working on your product for quite some time. All of the blog posts which you have written will generate nice SEO from all of the key words you are using. Clients often tell us they find us because our blog posts keep turning up in their researches…
2. Promote your product on a Website
By making sure you have your own website will make you look more serious in the market you are working in and it will also help you create an online presence for the things you are working on. It also catalogues your product and its documentation.
3. Sell your software as soon as possible
Sell your software as soon as you have something ready. This gets you into an immediate feedback loop with potential clients and establishes you as the originator of the idea. It also means you find out quickly (and cheaply) if it will work (and avoid wasting time if not) or what needs to change.
4. Press releases
Occasionally carry out press releases. You can do this via your social media accounts, it will be another way for you to create a online presence and it will also show that your product is growing and has potential.
Doing these will both protect you from the patents arms race and allow you to develop and refine your idea. It has worked for us and we are sure it will work for you.
IDRsolutions develop a Java PDF library, a PDF forms to HTML5 converter, a PDF to HTML5 or SVG converter and a Java Image Library that doubles as an ImageIO replacement. On the blog our team post about anything interesting they learn about.