Re: The lawyers will be fine.
I'm inclined to think that it isn't exactly correct that "ideas" are patentable.
One cannot, for example, simply patent the idea of "turning air into gold". Any numerous people could have this idea, and one cannot protect against them "copying" your thoughts.
However, if you have a mechanism, process, or device for "turning air into gold" that is sufficiently different from any other - *that* would be patentable.