need to use NDAs when disclosing); or (2) by obtaining patents.
Design patent or utility patent? Although you're using the word "design" to describe your innovations, they don't sound like design patent material (which is reserved for the appearance of functional objects). If your innovations enhance safety or security, then they are functional and may be the subject of a utility patent. Read up on utility patents to decide whether your ideas will qualify. Keep in mind that the date of your invention -- 2004 -- is less relevant now that the new patent law will go into effect in March. And if you've made any public disclosures of your idea, that will likely kill any patent hopes. As for the notarized envelope, don't expect that to provide any protection. It's sometimes referred to as a "post office patent" or "poor man's patent." But whatever you call it, alas, it doesn't prove anything.