Once you disclose the invention to the public, it becomes public knowledge. In the U.S., there is a one-year grace period to file a patent application for that same invention. In many territories outside the U.S., public disclosure of an invention is an absolute bar to patentability.
Is It Ever Safe To Discuss The Details Of My Invention With A Potential Investor Before Filing A Patent Application?
To protect yourself and the invention, I would always suggest having a non-disclosure agreement with the person or company with whom you are discussing your invention, including potential investors. The safest protection would be to file a provisional or non-provisional patent application before privately or publicly disclosing the invention. It is important to remember that in the U.S., there is a one-year grace period. This grace period allows for filing a patent application within one year of public disclosure of that invention by the inventor without that public disclosure being used as prior art again that patent application.
My Employee Has Invented A New Product. Who Will Own The Rights To The Patent?
It is best to always look at the employment agreement between the inventor and the employer. Generally, employment agreements will include a clause stipulating that anything developed in the course of the employee’s assigned work belongs to the employer.
Alternatively, if the invention was developed outside of work, is unrelated to the employee’s normal course of business with the company, and no company resources were used in its development, then the invention most likely belongs to the inventor and not the company.
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