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I have a patent pending method dealing with data compression and encryption.

At the moment, I am attempting talks with various companies in the technology sector. But due to difficulties in even getting them to respond to simple requests to talk, I am considering the use of a challenge.

I would like to provide contacted companies a sample product of the method, which in this case is a data encrypted and compressed file, and then proceed to ask them to decrypt and un-compress the file.

Doing this, would I interfere with my chance to get a non-provisional patent here in the US or in foreign countries? My understanding is that I would not, due in part that I already have a patent-pending on the method, and the challenge would be extended through private communication. I do realize that there is always the risk they may break the method and have a clear understanding of it. I am willing to take that risk.

My second question is that I am considering doing the same for a crowd funding event. In that case, the product (challenge) is then put into the public disclosure. Would such a challenge, in such a public manner, bar my chance to get a non-provisional here in the US or in foreign countries, despite having a patent pending already in place?

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In principle, everything you make available to the public can potentially cause trouble. The previous answer puts it well.

The key question is: Is this product fully covered by your pending patent? If yes I see no reason to worry about intellectual property issues.

If not then there are two solutions I can think of: 1) secrecy agreement as mentioned in the previous answer, 2) filing another patent application (and explore if you can combine it with the pending patent appl., if the latter is not yet published of course).

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First things first, private communication is not always enough to secure the possibility of patenting something. If the other party does not know (and accept) the secrecy, that can backfire.

Now, coming to your question: You can tell everyone you want everything that is already in your patent application as this counts as disclosed (regarding novelty) for future applications anyways (leaving divisionals and continuations out).

If you want to continue patenting improvements you have to be careful, everything you disclose might impede future patents. If the other party agrees on secrecy, you can tell them anything (at least from a patent law view, maybe telling them everything is not always the best way to go when talking strategy ;-) )

  • when talking about secrecy do you mean NDA? – Pol99 Dec 6 '16 at 18:37
  • Just agreeing on secrecy would - from a legal point of view - be enough. An NDA however would help with ensuring the agreement is kept. Which if I think about it, is kinda the same. So lets say NDA, yes. – DonQuiKong Dec 6 '16 at 18:48

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