How do I ensure my invention idea is safe with the company I submitted it to?
However, by doing so without having protected yourself with either a prototype or a confidentiality agreement, you have left yourself vulnerable should this agent be less than honorable in his dealings with you.
It is very difficult to protect an idea, unless you've found a way to put it into a tangible form, such as with a patent, trademark or copyright. Speak to an intellectual property attorney about any steps that you can take to protect the idea at this point. They may also have insight into whether the company is legitimate and if the procedures they'll ask you to follow fit the norm.
Nina L. Kaufman, Esq. is an award-winning New York City attorney, edutainer and author. Under her Ask The Business Lawyer brand, she reaches thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners with her legal services, professional speaking, information products, and LexAppeal weekly ezine. She also writes the Making It Legal blog.