Did you know that disclosing information about your invention could prevent you from receiving patent protection in the future? It’s true. And if you have an invention that you believe is novel and unique, the following blog post will explain why you’ll want to keep your cards held close to the vest.
Patents are granted for inventions that are “new” or offer a new take(i.e. an improvement) on an existing technology. However, if details about an invention are disclosed by anyone, anywhere, in a public forum, it is no longer considered “new” from the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s perspective. This even includes disclosures made by you, about your own invention. If you’ve talked about your invention or disclosed details about your invention anywhere in public prior to applying for a patent, your patent may be barred. All disclosures prior to patenting an invention, whether in the form of another’s patent, a patent application, blog post, advertisement, etc. are all considered prior art.
What if you need to talk about your invention to a third party?
In the course of evaluating whether or not to pursue a patent, you may need to share at least some basic details about your invention with a manufacturer, attorney, engineer, and so forth. How should you go about this without disclosing “too much” or sabotaging your chances for a patent in the future? We recommend the following:
- If you must disclose details about your invention to a third party, have your attorney draft you a non-disclosure agreement. Don’t cut corners here. Work with an attorney to ensure you have an agreement that will protect you from theft and disclosures—whether intentional or not.
- Ask your patent attorney! Before you make any disclosures, run it by your lawyer. You may not be able to take back your disclosure later, so keep an open line of communication with your attorney to avoid this costly mistake.
The benefit of working with a patent lawyer from the very start of the process is that your lawyer will be able to offer counsel and provide guidance so that you do not unintentionally derail your patent application while you are navigating your best path forward with your invention..
Working through the patent process can be tricky, and simple mistakes such as telling someone too much about your idea or invention could cost you in the long run. Make sure all your bases are covered by working with an attorney from the start. If you’d like to meet with our patent attorneys to discuss your needs and how to protect what you are working so hard to create, we invite you to contact us at (888) 666-0062 to schedule a consultation.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.