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Big Idea Frequently Asked Questions

Wednesday, 9 Jul 2008 | 4:56 PM ET

I love The Big Idea!How can I be a guest on the show?

Understandably, there are a lot of requests from small business owners and entrepreneurs to appear on The Big Idea. We offer several opportunities for interested parties to have their voice heard on the show – through email submissions, phone-ins, and sometimes to appear in our studio. The best place to do this is in our daily “Shout Outs” where we list the most up-to-date opportunities to appear on the show, and exactly what we’re looking for.


I saw a guest on your show recently and I want to learn more about them. Where can I get this information?


In our “Meet Our Guests” section of our website, you can find information on past guests as far back as several months! If you know the guest’s name or name of the product, you can also use the CNBC.com search tool at the top of every page to try and find what you’re looking for. We suggest sorting by “relevance” to find the results that best suit your search. This can also help you find book excerpts, exclusive blogs and video for the guest you’re looking for!


I saw the show last night and I really want to see it again! How can I get a DVD copy?


The Big Idea doesn’t directly provide DVD copies of shows, but you can contact our third party service, Burrelles Luce at (800)-777-8398 to order a copy. When ordering, they will require you to provide the date the show aired and after a payment, they will send the DVD directly to you.

Do you actually read the viewer emails?

Yes. Although we are unable to respond to every email, due to the sheer volume that we receive, we definitely review each and every submission. In fact, this FAQ page was created in response to the most common questions we receive. However, simply copying press releases into our email system is strongly discouraged and press releases submitted in this way will not be considered.


I need help finding a patent, manufacturer, getting financing or producing a prototype. Where can I go?

The greatest skill an entrepreneur can have is to effectively seek out, analyze and execute what they need to make their business work, and there is no single answer for every business. That being said, there are several great resources out there that can help you make these decisions and evaluate your options. The single best and most reliable resource is the US Patent and Trademark Office website – USPTO.gov – which has a vast amount of information regarding patents, trademarks, copyrights and more. As for manufacturing, financing and prototyping, everybody’s answer is different. We’ve compiled some great resources in our Helpful Business Links page, but anything like this will require a good amount of research, and it's amazing what a few Google searches can turn up. If you find a good patent attorney (see below) they can also be a great resource and make appropriate recommendations.


I'm afraid someone will steal my idea, or that someone has already come up with my idea. What can I do?

If you have a great idea and want to learn how to protect it, the USPTO website should be your first stop. The safest way to go about protecting your idea is through a registered patent attorney. To find a USPTO registered attorney, Click Here. Most of the time, they will offer a free exploratory session to determine whether the idea can be patented, how long the process may take and what sort of protection you’ll need.

One of the first steps of the patent process is the “Patent Search” where an attorney determines whether a patent for this idea already exists. If you’ve found a patent attorney in your area they can explain this in greater detail. The patent process with an attorney can generally cost anywhere between $12,000-$20,000 depending on your individual needs.

It is also possible to do your own searches and patent applications on your own, but seeking the help of a professional is highly recommended. You can also use Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA’s) when talking to anyone about your idea, to further protect yourself. Doing a simple Google search for “Non Disclosure Agreement” will yield sample forms that you can use to fit your needs.

If you still haven’t found your answer, click here and you may see a similar question listed here!