any advice on the best places/web sites of record to list ideas which you want to be on record as prior art so others can't patent them (UK/US/Europe) ?

I have some ideas, which I don't want to patent, but want to avoid others being able to do the same. I don't want to go to the effort of patent searches to see if they are original. Also, I would prefer not to publish all the ideas in the same location (I don't want patent protection, but I don't wan't to make it too easy for people to reproduce what I am doing -specifically I don't mind any of the ideas being used but I'd like a head start on the combination of the ideas)

Any advice on good places to post these ideas that satisfy the following criteria

  • relatively low effort/ expense
  • likely to stay online for next 20+ years
  • preferably reputable and validateable with timestamp
  • place UK/European/US patent offices may plausibly search
  • don't want to cause any trouble to an existing community
  • possibly anonymous

Ideas that come to mind including submitting to a patent office? (do they have a dumping ground for open ideas), maybe the EFF or similar, I could spam a reddit or hacker news comments or similar, there may be some crazy blockchain validator. I've had a quick look at @askpatents

I've had a quick look and can't find anything obvious, but I'm sure something like this exists and I'm too stupid to find it. I don't really use twitter/ facebook much. I can always use my blog if I have to Thanks

  • 2
    This is a good question because it relates to where patent examiners might look to establish prior art.
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 0:44

5 Answers 5


The most famous one is http://ip.com/

I don't know if one has to pay for publishing there, but its main purpose is defensive publications, i.e. what you are looking for. Patent examiners include the ip.com database to their searches, I personally have seen many search reports citing ip.com articles. So it is guaranteed that your disclosure will be retrieved against any future patent filing.

It is also time stamped and may be anonymous.

Mind that for one to have access to the article, he has to pay. But this is irrelevant to the fact that major patent offices search within its database and cite relevant prior art.

  • According to this page: portal.ip.com/login.html?after=https://publish.ip.com it is free to upload prior art, but it requires creating an account. I haven't done so, but it looks like it is only asking for a username and password so it may indeed be anonymous.
    – Eric S
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 14:57
  • It should be anonymous, I have seen much prior art there and it is always anonymous (although I sometimes can tell which company is behind it, LOL) Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 18:01
  • Thanks chempatent1981. I didn't know about ip.com so this is a really useful answer.
    – Eric S
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 21:03
  • 2
    USD $395.00 for ONE SINGLE PUBLICATION VOUCHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! eh !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! for ip.com it's preposterous. Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 13:51
  • As of 3-18-21 you definitely have to purchase vouchers to upload a defensive publication.
    – Eric S
    Commented Mar 18, 2021 at 20:24

One option targeted to the IT industry is Prior Art Archive. This article suggests it is being developed in concert with the USPTO. From their About page:

Low quality patents waste money. US companies spend millions of dollars year after year in litigation expenses defending against patents that shouldn’t have been issued. The patent examination process should stop patents from being issued on old or obvious technology. Unfortunately, just because technology is old doesn’t mean it is easy for a patent examiner to find. Particularly in the computer field, much prior art is in the form of old manuals, documentation, web sites, etc. that have, until now, not been readily searchable.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Cisco have collaborated to create this first free and open archiving platform for the entire IT industry.

Simply put: fewer bad patents will be issued if we as industry give USPTO examiners the tools they need to find old technology.

I've had some issues creating an account, but I've gotten a response so I'm guessing its a work in progress.

Another option is Technical Disclosure Commons. From their FAQ:

What is Technical Disclosure Commons (TDCommons)?

TDCommons is a website that hosts technical disclosures from various different companies and individuals. Many of these technical disclosures are defensive publications, published for the specific purpose of preventing subsequent patenting of those ideas. Defensive publications can boost patent quality by creating prior art that prevents the issuance of overly broad or obvious patents.

What are the benefits of using Technical Disclosure Commons?

  1. Free to publish. Cost does not have to be a factor when making defensive publication decisions.

  2. Free to search. Anyone can search for publications on TDCommons - no subscription required.

  3. Accessible through any search tool. The entire repository can be indexed and served using any search tool, including Google Patents, making it easier for patent examiners and the public to find TD Commons publications.

You do need to create an account.


enter image description here

"Defensive Publication In France. Study on usage of defensive publication strategy "; Felix Coxwell, Eva Gimello; Nov 12, 2012



This topic has come up here several times before. There are many helpful answers you can see by searching "defensive publication" on Ask Patents. Also, it is not expensive, but to publish on ip.com you still need to buy "vouchers" from them, I believe.

Some others of the defensive publication sites specialize. For example, OIN (Open Invention Network) had a site www.defensivepublications.org at one time that was related to OIN's mission to keep Linux open. This seems to now be gone (March 2021)


To prevent others getting a patent, file a patent application, let it publish and then go abandoned.

Since this came back up I have thought more about it. To win a case after a patent is issued or to have something date stamped to send in as a third party submission or, outside the U.S., as an objection or observation, these defensive publication sites can be valuable.

However if you are trying to prevent a patent from being issued whose prosecution you are unaware of, your prior art needs to be where a patent examiner searches. They have great systems for searching patent literature.

I looked at the history of a recently allowed patent in the IT field where the examiner did a search five times as claims were amended. It is a data point of one with at least 100 inventors and pages and pages of IDS submitted.

Public PAIR shows the actual search commands put into the EAST system. They show the specific databases selected for each search string.

All strings were run against US-PGPUB and USPAT. A few against JPO and EPO and one per search session against DERWENT.

I do not think an examiner will find anything in ip.com or the MIT/Cisco database since they are not looking there. Plenty to find in patent literature.

With the current (3/2021) USPTO fee structure a micro entity would pay $455 to do an electronic non-provisional utility filing. That is the sum of the filing, search and examination fees. After publication you could explicitly abandon it.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .