Copyrighting an IDEA?

Is such a thing possible? I have an idea for a sales tool, but since I don’t work in sales, and have no intention of doing so, I wonder how I could present it to a major merchant without having it stolen from me?

Mail it to myself in a registered letter, like a song, perhaps?

What do y’all say?


Generally speaking, you cannot copyright an idea.

From U.S. Copyright Office, Copyright Basics:

You might have a shot at patenting it, but that depends on what exactly it is. From General Information Concerning Patents:

Use this information as you will.


Business methods may be patented. Priceline’s business model is a good example. However, it will have to be truly revolutionary to be protectable. If you are serious about it, start raising money. You will need at least $2000 to get a preliminary opinion from a patent attorney on (a) whether the idea is protectable, (b) whether someone beat you to it. If it looks promising, figure $5000 for a full patent search, then depending on the complexity, at least another $5000. Those costs can double or triple if you seek out a major-market (NY, LA) patent lawyer, or increase by several orders of magnitude if there are any difficult issues in your filing.

Good luck. I burned a lot of cash chasing a patent a couple of years ago. It was no fun. But if I would have had my idea 18 months earlier, and won the race to the patent office, I would be retired right now.

With a little research, anyone can draft and file for a provisional patent without an attorney. Its much, much cheaper but if you go this route make sure you dot every i.

Screw the search. Just apply for the patent. If somebody else wants to challenge you it’s his problem.

At least that’s the approach that has beem taken by some hoodlum-like companies.