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Martin
Martin, Engineer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 4808
Experience:  i'm 41 and i never stopped studying and experimenting
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I have a unique idea that I wish to present to a company that

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I have a unique idea that I wish to present to a company that manufactures car seats. However, I'm concerned that they will be able to simply take my idea, tell me they are already working on something similar and subsequently go on to develop my idea without me benefitting in any way.

I have a similar problem with a product for the DIY market.

How can I protect my idea and ensure that it doesn't just get 'lifted' by the manufacturers?

Is there a legal document that, if they agree to sign it, will protect my intellectual property from theft?
Hello and welcome. You can apply for a patent (you need to apply to the patent office of each country your want protection):

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/
http://www.uspto.gov/

You are right in fearing them to steal your ideas, i recommend you this movie viewing:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1054588/

"Is there a legal document that, if they agree to sign it, will protect my intellectual property from theft?"
Yep, this is called a NDA (Non-Disclosure agreement).
That said if you remember those 2 movies coming around the same time:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118799/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120716/
You will see that they are far too much similar. This happen very often even if all scenario are protected by copyright law and also NDA.

At one time scientist used a method to make sure credit goes to them. they encrypted the data, posted it publicly. As they were the only ones having the decrypting key, if a conflict happened, they were able to prove their prior art showing they where the first discoverer.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The last time I checked, a patent cost in excess of £800. I don't have that kind of money :(

Also, this is a process I wish to sell, which would be impossible to encrypt on-line.

Would it be binding if I created a document where the signee (the company) declares that they will not utilise my idea upon its emergence? I'd like to have a page where the company, once informed of my idea, must sign to declare that they do not already have a similar project in progress, or if they do, they are obliged to prove that theirs is genuine, not inspired by mine.

If such a document is not binding, would it be so if a lawyer created it?

Thanks
Andy
You don't need to mix a lawyer in this (until contestation happen at least). You need to get them to sign your conditions in front of a notary:
http://www.thenotariessociety.org.uk/

And yes patent are expensive and it's not the most expensive part if you value your time as it's the duty of the applicant to verify that no other previous patent cover the idea (that can be really long and tedious).
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