httpwebwitch - 3:30 am on Sep 21, 2010 (gmt 0)
>> Do I have to patent my idea before presenting it to them?
>> Would the big companies buy my idea
Why would anyone pay you anything for an idea, if you don't own it exclusively? They'll take your idea, give you a warm thanks, and use it without sending you so much as a Xmas card. Present your fantastic idea in front of some executive dude at Apple? Your starving grandchildren will find the story more depressing every time you tell it.
>> What is the best way to check if my idea already existed and commercialized?
You could start with a patent search, which is the first step in... well you know
>> While I am not dreaming of becoming rich off this
Have you invented the cure for diabetes? Then by all means ply your beneficience to make the world a better place. But if you've invented something that RIM or Apple would want to own, then only a fool wouldn't milk it for its full potential. Mister Balsillie is a b-uh-illionaire. Paper your palm with some of that lucre.
>> should I expect a good payout from them just for an idea and no final product?
No. you need the idea, and the patent, and you'll probably need a proof-of-concept and/or prototype as well.
See if you can untangle this confusing page full of numbers: