Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual Property Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer
Is it possible to sell an idea without producing a prototype? If "yes," how do I protect the idea and how do I submit it for consideration? I have an idea to combine grocery shopping & your iphone. I would like to submit the idea to the Kroger chain, but want to get paid for the idea. Compensation would guarantee I have 3 meals per day x 7 days, x 52 weeks, x 30 years @ $7 per meal = $229,320. Snacks? 2 per day @ $2.50 = $54,600. Total = $283,920. Payments could be weekly, monthly, yearly, & electronically deposited. If the business closes, the balance would be paid in full. In addition to creating a more pleasurable shopping experience, the value of this idea would generate efficiency, awareness, and of course an increase of profits. Now that I think of it, why not include Macy's, Targets, Walmart too? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Y Bright Messick
Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm an Intellectual Property litigation attorney. Thanks for your question.
YES, it is possible to market and sell an idea without a working prototype - - BUT you can't get a patent without a working model. If you have drawings, formulas, etc. that establish how the product works, you can market that.
In order to prevent someone you pitch your idea to from stealing it, you have them sign a non-disclosure agreement that outlines the fact that the intellectual property, ideas, concepts, etc. can't be used without your consent. Here's a good link to a sample agreement: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/sample-confidentiality-agreement-nda-33343.html.
There are certainly several other examples online, and you could have a local attorney draft you one specifically for your needs -- but a generic form is usually sufficient.
If you sell your idea to a company, then can fund the production of a prototype and then proceed to applying for a patent.