There are various public disclosure rules in place for filing patents. These rules dictate when and how you can share information about your unpatented inventions. Any disclosure can jeopardize your ability to get a patent, so it is important to know what qualifies as one. Like trademark service guides, these rules can help you secure your intellectual property. As an entrepreneur, you should know how to protect your intellectual property, so you can start and grow your business. Read on to learn five public disclosure rules for entrepreneurs who want to file a patent.
An important rule is to avoid verbal disclosure of your unpatented invention. Some forms of verbal disclosure include group meetings, presentations, conferences, and even simple exchanges between you and another person. When speaking about your invention, restrict your audience to trusted parties only. You should also be careful not to reveal any detailed information in larger settings, as notes taken by a listener can count as disclosure. One way to protect your invention is by filing for a provisional patent. While this type of patent is temporary and less extensive than a full patent, it can give you more leeway when discussing your invention. To protect your invention, you should avoid verbal disclosure as much as possible.
To protect your ideas, you must avoid written disclosure of your invention. Some examples of written disclosure are handouts, copies of presentations, journal publications, handwritten notes, and emails. While sometimes these forms of communication are necessary, be cautious about what information you reveal and who has access to it. Your main concern should be preventing others in your field who can replicate or improve your idea from learning about it. The more accessible your ideas are, the more likely it is that someone else will patent them first. For this reason, it is important to limit written communication about your invention until it is patented.
As an entrepreneur looking for funding, you must navigate grant application rules carefully to protect your intellectual property. Grant final reports qualify as public disclosure, as they are available to the public upon request. To protect your ideas, your proposal should be broad and not reveal specific details about your invention. If necessary, you should also mark certain pages of the proposal as confidential. It is important to follow these rules unless you are applying to an unfunded government grant. These grants do not count as public disclosure. By taking precautions, you can avoid accidentally breaking a nondisclosure rule when submitting a grant application.
By having collaborators sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA), your invention will be protected by the law. NDAs are useful for sharing private information with any investors, designers, or builders you may be working with. However, not all parties will be willing to sign an NDA. You should only reveal information on a need-to-know basis in this case. Fortunately, there are many experienced parties who understand the need for NDAs, as they are common when dealing with unpatented inventions. NDAs can reduce the risks involved with outside communication and put you at ease. They are an effective way to protect your intellectual property from being stolen before you can file a patent.
Fortunately, if you break one of these rules, some countries offer a grace period for the patent application process. For example, the US allows inventors to file for patents up to one year after a public disclosure. Some other countries with 12 month grace periods include Canada, Japan, and South Korea. However, most other countries offer shorter grace periods, exceptions in rare circumstances, or no grace periods at all. Grace periods are the exception, not the rule, which shows how seriously nondisclosure is taken. You should not rely on a grace period unless it is absolutely necessary. If you do not patent your invention, it is both legal and probable that someone will take your idea. Grace periods are a helpful, but not guaranteed, way to prevent your patent from being rejected.
These 5 public disclosure rules for filing a patent will help you protect your ideas and grow your business. First, understand what qualifies as breaking a nondisclosure rule through verbal communication. You should also know this for written communication. Furthermore, you should write your grant applications in a way that maintains privacy. You can also get collaborators to sign nondisclosure agreements. If all else fails, you can take advantage of grace periods if they are available to you. By adhering to these public disclosure rules, you can file a patent with relative ease.