I don't want a job. I want to change the world.

Okay, this may just be the well-known pre-layoff delusions setting in, but I just don’t want to get another job. I’ve had a lot of jobs, and most of them have been pretty fun, but there’s something more important I need to be doing. It’s just that I have no idea how to go about getting it done.

You see, I think I’ve solved one of the major problems facing the US today. It’s a simple, technological solution to one of the issues that newscasters devote an occasional hand-wringing segment to, wondering whatever shall we do about this growing problem. Well, I know what to do about it.

The only problem is that it will take development, and the time of a creative team of people, and the resources of a small company to put it all together. All I have is the idea, some details, some computer abilities, and some leadership skills. And no business sense whatsoever.

So, Dopers, what should I do? Should I keep shopping my resume around, and get another computer-geek job? Should I look around for venture capital, whatever that is? Should I find someone who’ll listen, and pitch them the idea? Or should I send in my money to the “Have you got an invention?” late-night infomercial people?

I’ve stumbled upon an idea that would help millions, increase the world’s fun quotient, relieve huge amounts of sublimated guilt, and possibly amass millions for some fortunate people. What now?

Any way you can reveal more detail without spilling the idea itself? Such as the “genre”, i.e. “voting” or “alcoholism” or “school bullying”?

Regardless, patent it properly, right away. Can you reduce your idea to formal claims?

So much of industry is driven by patents, that the simplest idea can be a gold mine, if it’s the right idea.

For example, there’s a common entertainment device made by several competing manufacturers.

One day, nobody special was drinking in a bar, and had an idea.

A particular patented variation on the most popular game for this device is very popular, and all the manufacturers who implement versions of this variation have to pay a royalty to the inventor.

There are thousands of these devices (with this patented variation) out there. The royalty is $5 per day. Per active device. The inventor had to do no actual programming or hardware design; he just had to prove out the idea.

Now, nobody special is a millionaire, who turned down seven figures for his patent from one of the manufacturers.


How do you go about securing a patent?

I’ve got a simple idea for something that I’d love to patent, but have no clue how to do it. It won’t make me a million, but it’s a good idea.

There are a bunch of websites with information, and a bunch which want to sell you things, and a bunch which seem dodgy.

Here’s a site which wants to sell you a patent kit, search, or authoritative opinion.