Okay, I know everyone likes to think they are the only people on the planet thinking about their million dollar idea, but that is not true. In fact there could be hundreds of people thinking along the same lines as you are right now. Look at how many times you have walked in a store or watched TV and seen an idea you had months or years ago now on the market. Did that person, that you have never met, creep into your house while you were asleep and using alien technology pull it from your mind? No, they had the same idea you did, took the idea and did something with it to get it to market.
I have had numerous Inventors contact me saying this company stole their idea and want to know what they can do about it. When I talk with them further I find out the product is from France, Germany, Japan or a company in the US several states away from where they live. You talk to them asking how do they assume that company got ahold of their idea, did they send it to them or a sister company? They tell me they have never shown it to anyone, it is not even on paper, it is still in their head or they have it in a journal they wrote and just haven’t gotten around to moving forward with it. But, they are certain they stole it from them.
Inventors need to realize if you have an idea it is almost a certainy that someone else has had or is having that same idea. The question is which one of you is going to do something with it?
I am workiing on several variations of squirt guns right now that I believe are very marketable. The company I targeted is very strict about reviewing submissions and it is by invitation only. Obviously they work on their own line of products internally. The chances of them having conceived of one or more of same ideas I plan on sending them is possible. So, if I send them four concepts and they say we are already working on a similar squirt gun as one of my submissions do I scream “You Blankety Blank you stole my idea!!!! I’ll sue you and all your relatives ever born!”
I have been inventing and contacting companies for several years and occasionally I will find a company that I have sent a submission that will have something similar in production and about to release it. In those instances the company has sent me a sample of the product, a CAD drawing, a listing to the patent that was filed several months before I contacted them. They have done this not because they were legally required to. They did it because I understand that this can happen and they treated me in the same professional manner I treated them. I did not scream and threaten them with a lawsuit. Most of those companies also put me on their prefered listing so I get wish lists and other coorespondence from them so I know what they are looking for, so I can focus my submissions to them more accurately.
I do a lot of research up front on the companies I approach so that I have a good feeling about who I am dealing with and their ethics in dealing with Inventors. I use the information I gather to make the best informed decision I can and understand that I am not the only Inventor on the planet.