I have spent the last 2 months working on an idea for a patent . I made designs and descriptions and I put it in an inventors notebook and had my 2 friends sign the book . I planned to submit the provisional this week. But as luck would have it I had to travel down to see my mom and the last minute I decided to upload many key photos of the parent with many descriptions in a "free" scanning app called doc scanner so that in case I wanted to fax or email them to a lawyer, I could do so. After thinking about what I did overnight, I discovered on the internet that this program is not safe and that is shares and sells personal information worldwide. What type of information, I am not sure. I am hoping that I did not expose the core content of my patent to others but I'm not sure who really sees it if anyone and the company makes itself difficult to contact. So these are my main questions:

  1. Should I submit a barebones patent pending with my own non- professional descriptions and drawings right away (like in one day) And then later submit an amended version to secure my rights or should I wait a week or so for a more professional Patent Pending?

  2. Does my signed dated inventors book hold any sway in a court of law over someone who Stole my ideas over the Internet?

  3. What would be the most rapid but also practical/ sane way to secure my rights in the US and internationally? Do foreign countries adhere to the 1 year provisional patent rules? Which ones do? Which ones don't?

Have I given up any rights by possibly putting the information in on such a risky app?

3 Answers 3


If you believe you have publicly disclosed your invention or that it may become publicly disclosed, you should probably file a provisional patent application. Note this is different than what the other current answer says. A provisional application is not a full application, but will secure your rights for one year while you continue to develop and improve your application. You must file a non-provisional application within one year of filing a provisional application or the provisional application will lapse. The non-provisional application is the "full" application that can mature into a U.S. patent. A provisional would be better in the short term because a provisional can be relatively informal, and will never publish unless a subsequent non-provisional is filed and publishes.

This provisional will probably protect you internationally assuming that your documents have not yet been publicly disclosed. Most countries will recognize the priority you establish with a provisional application. But if your invention is already in the public domain, filing a provisional now might not help - you might not be able to obtain a patent in some jurisdictions as a result, including Europe.

As to your concern about derivation, no other person in the U.S. can take your invention and file it without having actually invented it. The U.S. is a first-inventor-to-file system, meaning you have to be an actual inventor to file an application. For example, if you shared your invention with me, I could not go down to the USPTO and file a patent application, at least in theory. In practice, you would have to prove derivation -- but that is an entirely different topic.


If you believe you've inadvertently released patent-able invention and are worried that someone could file a patent for it, you should immediately get a patent attorney and file a non-provisional patent applicationprovisional application for you.

A non-provisional patent application is a document that establish a priority date at the patent office. It is not a formal document, and all you have to do is disclosing your invention in sufficient details. After a non-provisional patent application is filed, you have twelve (12) months to file a formal application.

There is also a one-year grace period from the date of first publication. Note the rule primarily applies to publication made by you or someone who got the information from you. If your invention is stolen and published by someone you don't know, you might be in trouble.

Your inventor book is like "poor man's mail". It won't help you. U.S. is now first-to-file country, just like everywhere else. If you fail to file the application before someone else does, you loose.

  • This answer is not correct. A non-provisional application is a full patent application. A provisional application is the informal application to secure a priority date. Additionally, the U.S. is a first inventor to file country. That makes a big difference.
    – SGN
    Mar 16, 2016 at 20:46

If you did not actually publish this information and , as you say, the app that you downloaded uses a military grade encryption system , than it would seem that your information was no more compromised than any information that is in any computer on the Internet. Since the likelihood that the info was compromised is so low it would seem that your rights over the information is in tact.

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