How to stop companies from stealing your invention

Patent for Mercury capsule
Patent for Mercury capsule

"Never think that the corporation is there to help you. Always keep your guard up." So say the lawyers who helped little guy Michael Powell win $25 million from big, bad Home Depot after it stole his invention. WalletPop reported the initial verdict of $15 million following the trial, and the judge later added nearly $10 million in punitive damages and legal fees.

In the wake of their victory, attorneys Peter Herman and Alexander Brown of the firm Tripp Scott in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., offered these pointers to WalletPop for you ingenious types who are thinking of selling their inventions or cool ideas to a company.