Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a litigation attorney. Thanks for your question.
A patent would still likely govern this concept as patents can cover processes, ideas, etc. HOWEVER, these processes must be reduced to writing, etc. at some point.
If you need to develop your idea/concept before seeking a patent, you can do so by approaching industries that would use this process in its operations. Often, they will pay you for the idea or the right to use and develop it for their product, etc.
In order to prevent anyone you share the idea with from stealing it or using it without your permission, you can have them sign a non-disclosure agreement.
These agreements state that the person will not share or use your idea without your permission. You can find these all over the internet, which are similar to this one: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/sample-confidentiality-agreement-nda-33343.html
Once you get funding or assistance in developing your concept, you can pursue applying for a patent.
I hope the response above answered your questions, but if you need anything further, please let me know. Thanks.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).