In most situations all you need is a good sell sheet explaining the benefits of your product, including a photograph, picture or drawing of your idea, and a few features along with your contact information.
In today’s internet age a one minute video is also a great sales tool. Your one minute video should dedicate 15 seconds to stating the problem and then 45 seconds explaining how your product offers a solution. (Please see examples of sell sheets and one minute video).
Typically, companies want to see you as the owner of your idea and they may require you to have filed at least a Provisional Patent Application. Some industries may need to see that you have filed a copyright or trademark that has value as well. Doubtless, there will be companies that require an approved patent as prerequisite to review your product submission.
After they review your sell sheet or video, if they are interested they will most likely ask to see a prototype, as well as documentation of any IP protection you have. At this point we recommend that you ask to sign an NDA. In most situations, you will also be asked to sign one drafted by the company.
Please read any document/contract/NDA to fully understand what you’re committing yourself too. It’s always best to have a good patent attorney review all legally binding documents before affixing your signature to them.