I am a full-time freelance Industrial Designer that focuses on this niche realm of softgoods design and development. I can't tell you how many backpacks I've designed so far in my career, who knows... a whole lot.
Depending on how big the company is, and what they're interested in pursuing, your chances of having them sign an NDA with you are slim.
There are several factors involved here...
1. You can't really "patent" a backpack design. You can patent very specific features and or mechanisms that are innovative and revolutionary. (for example, these would be mechanisms invented and proven with designers and engineers, that do something very specific, and work perfectly, and there are no other mechanisms that could do it better or compete with your innovative mechanism/function)
2. What if they're already designing this concept, then they decide to meet with you? Then they've thrown away thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of development costs since you now could sue them.
3. They are their own business, with their own unique strategy and unique plan to go about business. If you went to Apple with the idea of the iPod in 1989, they would have likely turned you away, because that wasn't part of their plan to be a successful business. Just because it is a good idea, doesn't mean a company will be willing to put a % of their expendable dollars towards it. Especially if they're a small company. They may only have X dollars after profit from their existing products, and that X dollars is 100% used to renew their stocks of their products which they know for a fact are selling, rather than an unknown.
My suggestion... design and develop the concept yourself (or hire me to do it!). Companies aren't interested in buying ideas. They're interested in buying success. Ideas are cheap. The work that goes into developing the idea and making it perfect, well, thats design, and good design is expensive. The work and execution is the valuable part, not the idea.
If your concept is truly amazing, you should be willing to go broke on it (sell your car, your house, eat rice and beans, because it is such an amazing idea), and bring it into reality and/or into market. If it amazing, people will notice, and they will come with their check books ready.
Plus, if you go to them, who's to say they just don't steal your idea and claim it as theirs (even to use for the future)? It really only matters who's lawyers are better, and my guess would be theirs.
Last edited by TaylorWelden
on February 15th, 2012, 5:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.