An idea is not an invention: An idea becomes an invention when it can be described in extensive details. There is no protection out there for ideas. They cannot be patented or even copyrighted.
When you think about patents, it is usually a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo. That is why many people want to avoid the topic altogether. Patents mean disputes, patents mean lawyers, and worse, patents mean infringement and damages. I did my PhD in the field of Patent Analytics. I had just completed my Master’s in Industrial