"Idea" selling or copyright protection advice.

If a person had a idea, not really an invention, but a suggestion on how to improve an already marketed product, is there a wayl to sell the idea or somehow copyright the idea? I don’t believe an idea can be copyrighted but, is there any way to avoid the scenario where I make a suggestion on how to improve a product, they say “No thank, not interested” and then, there’s the product on the shelves making a fortune?

How would one cash in on something like this.

I have no idea about your question, I just wanted to say that you sure are everywhere this morning!

First you need to prove that you come up with the idea, then you need to prove that you transferred that idea to the company.

For the first, you can write down the idea, then send it to yourself in a sealed envelope via registered mail. Do not open it, put it in a safe place such as a safety deposit box in a bank.

For the second, you can make a tape recording of your conversation with the company’s representative.

I would highly suggest spending some time visiting the U. S. Copyright Office. Most, if not all, your questions can be answered there.

Not likely. Sending the envelope to yourself has no legal validity and doesn’t prove a thing.

Taping the conversation might help, except that the company has only to show that the impetus for the idea came from someone other than the person you talked to. Companies are set up to insulate themselves from any suggestions they might adopt on their own as a way of preventing frivolous lawsuits. You can bet that anyone who discusses idea for products with you has no connection with their R&D department, or, if it is with R&D, they refuse to listen to your suggestions.

On the contrary, this is a tool very often used by people such as script writers who need to send out work on faith.

It establishes the date when you have conceived the idea. Of course, the envelope must be remain sealed to be of use in court.

That doesn’t work. They need to prove that your input has completely no bearing on their improvement(s).

That being said, a better way to do it is to create that improvement and either apply for a copyright or patent.

Yea, I’ve already done the “mail it to yourself” thing back in the day when I was writing and recording songs. Write the song, record it, send the tape registered to yourself and if ownership is ever challenged in court, it’s just another piece to make ones case. I’ve also copyrighted songs but, that can get expensive and the forms are a head ache.

Here’s a “for instance”: In the mid-80’s I had a idea to make a “coffee bag”. You know, used as a tea bag only, it’s got coffee in it and makes a single cup of coffee. I actually emptied a tea bag, put some coffee grounds in there and stapled it back together. It didn’t turned out quite right (because of the grind of the coffee I think) but, there was the idea.

I let it drop (as I do most things) and a couple of years later, BEHOLD, Maxwell House comes out with Coffee Singles. Sorry but, it’s MY idea.

I’ll be honest, I can definately be bought. I would think an initial payment of say, 20K for the idea and 1/2 percent on each unit sold. I think that’s fair don’t you?

So, now, I’m facing this same type of thing with another great idea. What to do?

I just can’t keep all these great ideas out of my head no matter what I do. It’s a curse really.

Sorry, I definately have too much on my mind lately.:smiley:

I’d like to see a citation of an actual court case in which sending oneself an idea, story, song, script, or anything else was the deciding factor in winning.

Script writers send in their ideas to a legal registry at the Writers Guild, a very different thing.

Until I see a citation, I have to side with RealityChuck. This procedure has no legal validity.