Product development on a shoesting?

A question from misc.entrepreneurs.moderated:

I just came up with a great pet food name which will be marketed with a 20 year old wolrld regonized song. Did the registration of the domain names. I am disabled and do not have lots of money to seek legal counsel. Can I patent the marketing plan or would it be prudent to pitch idea to Fortune 500 Co. or broker with a nondisclosure agreement? This is one that should clear the park wall.

You definitely can’t “patent the marketing plan”, unless there is something in it that could qualify for a business method patent. In addition, trying to patent anything without professional help is usually a waste of time; unless you prepared patent applications before, you won’t be able to prepare one on your own.

What you may want to do is to register the name you came up with as a trademark. This is doable without hiring an attorney, can be done entirely online at uspto.gov, and is not particularly expensive (the filing fee is two hundred some dollars, if I remember correctly).

Pitching to a Fortune 500 company probably won’t get you anywhere. You may (but not necessarily will) be able to sell them your rights to the trademark, but don’t expect to get a lot of money for it; they will probably buy it to shelf, just to preclude competitors from developing it.

Also, right now is about the worst time to come up with marketing gimmicks in pet food. The recent pet food recall exposed the fact that most of pet foods in the market are in fact the same product in different packaging. It wasn’t a secret before, but now the public is more aware of it. So unless you actually have a genuinely different product, trying to push it will be an uphill battle…

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