I'd like to approach a company of an international status with an idea for a new angle to their current service. I'd like to have a part in the setup.
The business in question has an excellent system in place, but they currently target a different sector. I'd like to suggest that they implement the same system for an entirely new market they're not yet catering to and I'm positive that it will be an incredibly lucrative addition to the business.
I'd like to know if it's something that one can do, and how to approach the business to sell this new angle to them, but also be a part of the founding process.
How would I go about protecting the idea, or at least, ensuring that the if the idea is implemented that I am part of the implementation moving forward?
Any advice and thoughts would be immensely appreciated.
Really good question. You can do it via one of three ways:
1) Provisional Patent. if an implementation of their system to his new market would be patentable (i.e. using machine X to make donuts instead of jewelry), then you could file a provisional patent on the idea. Provisional patents are very informal and cheap. They can essentially be written on the back of a napkin, and filed for ~$100. They last for only a year, after which you have to convert them into a 'real patent', otherwise your idea will become open to the public to use.
2) An NDA. You could have them sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), which would have wording in it that basically says, "I'm going to tell you something, and unless you have existing proof that you already had thought of that idea, then you're not allowed to use my idea without my consent". Sometimes the company will not want to sign an NDA because they may have discussed a lot of ideas without writing them down, and by signing your NDA, they'd legally lose the right to use one of those non-written-down ideas. But it's worth a shot.
3) Rely on trust. The way to make this more likely to work is if you are good friends with a big investor in their company, or something like that. Some situation in which, if they steal your idea, they'd be ruining their reputation with someone they care about (they probably don't care about pissing you yourself off). If you don't have such a connection, maybe you can form one through linkedin.
If you'd like to discuss any of this further let me know,
all the best,
Great question and excellent responses from the others.
An important step is to do your business development homework. This includes finding the right person at the company you have in mind and figuring out a way to describe the value of your idea so that you get a meeting. You will have to share your idea at a conceptual level before anyone will bother with an NDA. This is also known as a sales pitch.
I would also find other companies who would/should also be interested and work on them also. If it's a great idea, others should be interested.
I don't have an opinion about intellectual property or your invention without knowing more about what you have.
Request a call if you want to discuss more strategies and tactics. I've done a lot of this kind of thing and would love to share what I've learned...sometimes the hard way!