Visit the Johnson & Johnson website (see References below) and you’ll see the company extolled as “The world’s premier consumer health company, the world’s largest and most diverse medical devices and diagnostics company, the world’s fourth-largest biologics company and the world’s seventh-largest pharmaceuticals company.” Given so huge and influential a presence on the world stage, it would be hard to imagine a better source to approach if your groundbreaking idea could further the aims of the brand. To circumnavigate the more than 250 companies that are owned and/or operated by Johnson & Johnson in 57 countries, you’ll need a guide, which is exactly what you’ll find within the content of this article.
Research the Johnson & Johnson Company and all of its subdivisions to determine exactly which niche would be the best fit for your idea. Additionally, spend time on the company website to gain a clear understanding of the company’s current and future aspirations. It wouldn’t hurt to visit a couple of retail stores to get a true picture of the vast array of product areas the former “family business” now oversees.
Refine, develop and expand your idea to answer questions Johnson & Johnson company researchers and developers may ask should you get a face-to-face meeting with representatives to present your idea. Your concept should be fully fleshed out and backed up by background material, specs, materials, ingredients, formulas and other data that went into the design, construction or compilation of your original concept.
Work up a "cost to manufacture" figure for your idea. Regardless of the many humanitarian philosophies and objectives the Johnson & Johnson company espouses, this company didn’t get to its lofty international position by ignoring the profit piece of the products and materials it has developed and acquired over time. Knowing exactly how much your idea costs to manufacture--as a single unit and in bulk--shows that you’ve done your homework far beyond just coming up with the idea.
Apply for a trademark, a patent or both to protect your unique idea. Conduct your own clinical trials. Seek help from an independent laboratory as you structure your idea and make it presentable. Covering all of these checks and balances will require some out-of-pocket cash, but your chances of selling your new idea to Johnson & Johnson will be expedited if you’ve made certain that you, the inventor, have covered all bases.
Contact Johnson & Johnson. Make an appointment to meet with the appropriate research and development team. You’ll find web addresses at the end of this article, but with 250 companies under its corporate wing, it’s important that you spend the extra time necessary to find the right contact person. Begin the journey by writing to the company’s corporate headquarters at P. O. Box 726, Langhorne, Pennsylvania 19047-0726. If you want to be certain your letter reaches Pennsylvania, add a signature request form to your letter. Your letter or email should not disclose details of your idea. Your goal is to arrange an in-person meeting.
Show your seriousness of purpose by advising the recipient of your communication (letter or email) that you intend to visit Langhorne on a specific date and would like to book an appointment, but don’t make flight arrangements until you have a firm commitment. Assure your contact that you are not approaching other firms until you’ve had the chance to pitch your idea to Johnson & Johnson.
Prepare and rehearse your formal presentation thoroughly before you head for Pennsylvania. In addition to the materials you’ll use to sell your idea to Johnson & Johnson be sure to construct a nondisclosure agreement to protect you and your idea from being replicated. Your patent and/or trademark offer protections, but it’s standard practice for inventors who regularly pitch new concepts to bring along a prepared nondisclosure statement.
Be thorough and professional when you sit down with Johnson & Johnson representatives. Ask principals to sign your nondisclosure statement before you begin your presentation, then be respectful of their time by being so organized, you get through your pitch in less than an hour. Make yourself available to answer questions, and before you leave ask for a response date so you can take your idea elsewhere should Johnson & Johnson decide to take a pass.
Prepare yourself for a “we’ve got something similar in the pipeline” declaration from Johnson & Johnson. This isn’t a judgment about your idea or a criticism of your work. A company as large as this one has a huge staff committed to finding new ideas and improving old ones, so if this turns out to be the case, just move on to another company. One rejection should never stop you from persisting in your efforts to sell your idea.
Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.