Idea protection

OK, I feel I should know the answer to this by now, but not sure.

If presenting a spec campaign to a bank, a brand strategy idea that is totally new (after having worked on a ton of bank accounts and researched online I know this for a fact), how can i keep my idea from getting ripped off by the first marketing director who I present it to but doesn’t want to pay a fair price for it?

Any thoughts?

NDA (nondisclosure agreement)?

macwriter - i tried to post this earlier, but something in there was considered ‘spam’ by the computer. i still can’t imagine what it was but i tried to simplify the response:

my best guess is that, unless you have some specific ‘thing’ which could be patented, your best bet is write the idea down (complete with graphics if need be) and file a formal copyright claim on it, with the copyright office. Be sure, as well, to keep any documentation you can that proves the date the idea was established - mail a copy of it, sealed with wax or some such thing - to another colleague, your lawyer, mom, whoever. make sure a date is postmarked on the actual envelope. it’s not the best but is better than nothing.

having prospective clients sign a non-disclosure (nda) is fine in theory, but my guess is not too many bankers are going to be willing to do so. if you do prepare one, keep it to no more than a page. all you really want from the nda, in your case, is to have on record that they saw your idea, on or after that date. (this works in concert with having other records which establish the creation date and helps to prove they didn’t have the idea before you met with them).

keep a log, as well, of everyone you meet with - their name, bank, position, the date you met, and copies of exactly what you showed them. ideally, what you show them should exactly match what you filed for the copyright on. basically, you want to be able to show afterwards that you had a copyrighted idea that you disclosed to someone

finally, even if you do all the above, you’re still pretty much at risk for someone taking your idea, slightly modifying it, and getting around the copyright. you can’t copyright a concept, so all you could do is try to show, if they’re sloppy and just do a straight theft, that your copyright was violated. this may sound very obvious, but i’d do some homework on your prospective clients and approach the bank you have the best vibe or relationship with and go from there. also, realize that the money you may realize is likely to be less than if you had a more proper ‘thing’ to sell them. i’m not discounting your thought or innovation, but am just pointing out that ‘ideas’ are very hard to quantify in legal terms.