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I'm trying to get a company to licence my idea, however, they claim that they already have a similar idea but that they could potentially find improvements/best practises to their idea from understanding mine and see if they could licence it.

Since provisionals are not publicly searchable and I can't view their provisional to understand exactly what they have patented or not, what is the best way for each other to disclose information?

If their provisional patent is super broad and they filed it earlier then mine, can they steal my specific methods if I show them and claim that its something they have already patented?

Is there any way without having to show them your provisional directly (and hence remove your 'trade secret advantage' of not showing them your provisional) ?

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I think that the best procedure would be the following one :

1) Fill a provisory patent with your idea and much as detail as possible

2) Offer the company to set a bilateral NDA between you and them

3) Compare the provisory patent. If you bring new material, then you'll have something to negotiate. You should not forget that claims could be modified at any time util the end of the provisory period.

Also, if a patent is broad and that you have a specific idea that requires a claim in the broader patent, you won't have the freedom to operate. If you patent your specific idea and that it’s not evident from their patent, they won't have the freedom to operate.

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