Lets say i go to a crowed funding site to rasie money to help with research and development. Will that void my future patent rights? I dont go into detail about jow it work just tell them my my what it does and my vison for the idea.

  • It is not easy to draw a line between how it works and what it does in such a way as to be sure you have not disclosed enough to compromise your patent rights.
    – George White
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 19:13
  • Factors to consider include whether your disclosure event is covered in an agreement involving confidentiality, not to mention whether your invention is already detailed in your (inherently confidential) filing of a provisional patent application (in the USA).
    – Upnorth
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 18:51

2 Answers 2


You need to keep the patentable idea secret until you file an application. In the US you have one year from disclosure to file an application, but in reality if someone who seems your presentation files ahead of you, they might get the patent. Also public disclosure will be prior art for foreign patents. Many people in your circumstances file a provisional patent application before any disclosure.


A provisional patent is a low cost way to "mark your territory" and allows public disclosure. This is due to the informal nature of a provisional patent--it merely needs to describe the process fully--and this may be self-filed. (Opinions vary on self-filing of provisionals, but I've consulted with numerous, experienced, well-respected patent attorneys who feel it to be low risk. In self-filing, be exhaustive in your description, and include any and all information you believe is relevant. You can always take things out in the nonprovisional, but adding things in will lose you the priority of the initial nonprovisional filing date, at least for those additions.)

However, you only have 1 year to followup with a formal, nonprovisional patent application.

Provisional applications can also be useful in seeking funding because investors are unlikely to sign non-disclosure agreements, which open potential liability for them with no benefit. (i.e. They already be looking at similar technologies or processes.) With the provisional patent you can publicly disclose and still retain the right to subsequently submit the nonprovisional application.

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