The concept is simple, if you disclose it to the public you have donated it to the public. But what does “disclose” mean, and who is “the public”. The answers to these most important questions can determine whether you retain or lose your invention. Before your talk, it may be advisable to consult a patent professional. Generally, close friends and family are not “the public” – but this can vary depending upon who they are, where they are employed and the exact circumstances.
If you value your invention, you may want to be careful. What constitutes a “disclosure” also varies depending upon how difficult it would be to take the information you provide and proceed (with some allowable experimentation) to the final result of your invention.
If you are presenting an abstract or poster at a scientific meeting, or presenting an open seminar, a group seminar with open attendance -e.g., to individuals who are not collaborators – your invention is potentially at risk as explained by InventHelp experts.
United States law allows for a 1 year “grace period”, i.e., up to one year from the date on which you disclose your invention to the public you may still file a patent application. This is not true for the rest of the world, i.e., where you lose it when you disclose it.
If your invention is particularly valuable, commercial entities may wish to acquire worldwide licensing rights. If you have disclosed it prior to filing your patent application, you may have lost many international right.
What can I say?
Best advice – is nothing. Beyond that talk to a patent professional first – then talk.
To whom can I talk and under what circumstances?
If you need to talk with possible financial partners, companies, etc. – at the very least, you should have officers of those entities execute a “Confidential Disclosure Agreement” – (CDA). Talk to your attorney, or ask if the company has a standard document they use- then take that document to your attorney.
When should I start working on my patent application?
As soon as you have a full (or near full) understanding of your invention and how it might be useful. This varies with different inventions, but probably it can be said that when you feel confident that you “have it” -then you are ready. Along the way, it is advisable to keep good working notes, laboratory records, sketches, drawings, etc. You should have these written notes signed by a “witness”, i.e., an individual (not a relative) who can, if necessary, swear as to their authenticity. You could get professional help for your new invention idea from patenting agencies like Invent Help.
If you want to participate in drafting your patent application, you can start writing the different component parts of the patent application as you go along.