The bodies I, my family and my colleagues work with haven't derived any direct benefit whatsoever. Their purpose is to stimulate innovation for various economic and political reasons. Given that they exist, anyone wanting a slice of the action (rather than a fee) to help you file an IP registration should be viewed with suspicion.
From what I've seen, the scum tend descend en masse once you need to raise more capital than a mortgage or bank loan can provide.
I am sure there are exceptions, and horror stories, but securing intellectual property for small startups is, for the moment, a political priority in Europe, so it might be easier than many here think for Joanna to protect her ideas.
Yes, Struan has a good idea for funding through a government agency or the like. I recently used a US National Science Foundation grant money to develop a MEMS hermetic package resulting in US Patent 7,576,427. Various agency support can work quite well if you can find a fit of interests. I write my own patents using a couple of books detailing the procedures although it is not a trivial process. Look on Amazon for such books. The actual filing costs range around US $500.00. Subsequent maintenance fees are much higher.
BTW my previous comment was inaccurate about filing a disclosure with the Patent Office, at least in the US. A disclosure is kept confidential to the Patent Office until the full patent is filed. Then the patent is published as a patent application by the Patent Office and becomes in the public domain.
In Joannas case her effort may best be executed through a job shop contract since it may ultimately yield a small market. In such case the sleeve mechanism may be put together by hand or with relatively simple machine aids by a job shop. If a new type of holder is needed then that might be a machine shop job for someone like SK Grimes or equivalent.
Joanna we need you to come up with something so best of luck.
Nate Potter, Austin TX.
Joanna - don't give up on 8x10. Personally, I don't care one bit about dust. Spotting in PhotoShop is easy and one has to do it only once. Carrying enough holders for 15-20 shots in 8x10 keeps me way too close to the car... about a mile or two. Readyloads would take the weight down to the weight of 1-2 holders, which would be very easy to manage. It's a much larger benefit than replacing 4x5 holders.
If the extra 4 inches on the end flaps in the breeze, one can always fix a little black tape on it and tape it to the camera...
If you can manage this, you might become St. Joanna! At least for us 8x10'ers.
Best of luck.
Museum Quality Drum Scanning and Printing
I would be interested if it's easy to load in a changing bag, not too pricey and reliable.
I second the 8x10 suggestion. I can carry as many 4x5 double darks as I would ever possibly need for a trip, but the same is certainly not true for 8x10.
the delivery system for 4x5 already exists,
I don't think Joanna is contemplating designing a new holder-
If an 8x10 packet was to be added, what holder would it fit in?
GO FOR IT! WE WANT IT! How cool it would be since Fuji bailed on us.