I’ve  observed two very different and extreme behaviors when it comes to new inventors. One is the must hide and protect at all cost mentality and the other is let all the world to see.

People who are cautious and less trusting often times run to the nearest patent attorney they can find and file a patent on their invention. They are worried that someone will steal their idea. They spend lots of money before they do their homework. Is there a similar product on the market? Are there patents already filed? Is there a market for their invention?

If you read my blog you know that this in not the best approach. You are better off doing some research and filing a provisional patent application.

The opposite extreme is the person who is more trusting or someone that may be familiar with the legal concept of “prior art”. I’ve seen a lot of people post their inventon idea publicly on YouTube, Facebook, inventor forums, etc. Often times they are looking for help or feedback on their ideas.

I am not an attorney so I asked one. Here is what he told me about showing an invention on the Facdbook without first getting at least a provisonal patent application filed

“Facebook is a social networking site and whatever you post will become public knowledge and will be treated as prior art. Facebook also has date stamp of what you posted when…so it can be pulled out by some of your competitor later to invalidate your patent(if granted)”

Here are some questions my attorney asked me:

  • The invention was known or used in the U.S. before I invented it.
  • The invention was patented or published anywhere in the world before I invented it.
  • The invention has been in public use or on sale in the U.S. for over one year.
  • The invention was patented or published anywhere in the world more than one year ago.

If you answered yes to any of these you should definitely get some professional advice.

So when in doubt, keep it to yourself but don’t get worried and spend a bunch of money that may be a poor investment.

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