I have a cure for Bipolar Disorder. I haven't patented it yet.

However, I started sending emails with the idea to Universities before (a record exists in my email inbox).

Then I have been sending my ideas to Pharmaceutical firms.

However, the conclusion of the idea is unique, and based on a lot of science I have done (theory). I have sent that theory along with the idea or the conclusion to these outlets.

These ideas are also on a blog I keep.

Can the firms simply patent my invention, now that the ideas are with them?

  • Can you please describe what you mean by disclosed publicly? Did you put it out there for anyone to see (like on the internet) or did you only disclose it to the firms like in a private email? Public disclosure is a really bad idea before filing for a patent. Also did you execute a non-disclosure agreement with the firms you communicated with? If not, you should before discussing anything.
    – Eric S
    Feb 23, 2018 at 18:45
  • By the way many, if not most, firms will simply ignore unsolicited "inventions" and not even read the emails. This is to protect them from being sued in the case that they already have research programs going.
    – Eric S
    Feb 23, 2018 at 18:48

2 Answers 2


If they are ideas and not actual data, they are most likely not patentable. You cannot patent a theory, you can patent an actual method, a technical process, etc. Even if this fact is disregarded, if you disclosed the content of your emails in your blog, they are publicly available and thus prior art. Anything that belongs to prior art cannot be patented.

  • I don't think you are correct. I consulted a lawyer who said an idea which is a cure can be patented.
    – deezina
    Feb 23, 2018 at 16:20
  • 1
    @deezina it depends if its a treatment or a chemical etc
    – user18033
    Feb 23, 2018 at 18:00
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    @DonQuiKong - the rules about what medical methods can be patented differ greatly between the US and, say, the EPO. In the US you can patent a method of treatment (but you can't enforce it against medical professionals). I discovered last year that the EPO will not patent diagnostic methods - but no problem in the US.
    – George White
    Feb 24, 2018 at 6:04
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    @GeorgeWhite interesting. In Germany you can't enforce anything against a medical professional as long as they are using it on a per case basis. If your pharmacist mixes a patented drug for your treatment, he can do that.
    – user18033
    Feb 24, 2018 at 8:53
  • @deezina an idea can be patented only if there is actual data to support this. You can have an idea for curing people from cancer with e.g. beer, but you need to substantiate this somehow, for examply conducting some experiments that shows inhibition (or cure) of cancer with the aid of your invention. But still, like in previous two comments, it greatly also depends on the jurisdiction. My advice is not to consult lawyers, but patent attorneys. Mar 6, 2018 at 10:32

There's two aspects here.

For one, in many countries, especially the US, you're required to disclose the inventor truthfully. Not doing that could suffice to invalidate the patent or you could sue for it to be transferred to you, etc, depending on location.

But let's put that aside as it's a lot of work and proving etc.

The subject matter of a patent application (=what you're trying to patent) needs to be novel and non-obvious. That means, compared to all publications out there, you need to claim something unknown and not obviously derivable if you want your application to get granted.

But, the decision, while it should be, is not completly objective or perfect (of course not). It's made by a patent examiner. If that patent examiner doesn't know about yor mails and your blog, they don't know they shouldn't grant the patent application.

The resulting patent would still be invalidatable with proof of your public disclosures (sending it to a few companys without making them keep it secret counts as public disclosure). But at first, it would be a granted patent.

So, yes, technically they could or could try, but no they couldn't as in it woudn't be a valid patent.

Btw. almost the same goes for yourself. The US offers a grace period for disclosures by the/an inventor where you can still file a patent application and get it granted afterwards, but for most parts of the world your "I haven't patented it yet." is a terminal "I never will be able to."

Grace period:

Some countries like the US offer a grace period for publications from the/an inventor that allow the inventors to apply for a patent even after publishing the invention. Only in those countries it is possible to get a patent after a publication. A non exhaustive list: http://mewburn.com/resource/grace-periods-for-disclosure-of-an-invention-before-applying-for-a-patent/

In the US that's 12 months after the first publication.

There are also grace periods for utility models, in Germany that would be 6 months for example. That might be a way to get at least some protection (10yrs).

  • The facts regarding Bipolar are misunderstood. My ideas are novel. They lead to a novel conclusion. I have sent these ideas to Pharmaceutical firms. I have also sent the ideas to University Professors. They are on a blog I keep. Therefore, there is no question of not having the evidence that the novelty is mine.
    – deezina
    Feb 23, 2018 at 16:09
  • The facts regarding Bipolar are misunderstood. My ideas are novel. They lead to a novel conclusion. I have sent these ideas to Pharmaceutical firms. I have also sent the ideas to University Professors. They are also on a blog I keep. Therefore, there is no question of not having the evidence that the novelty is mine. However, I haven't just sent the ideas to US Pharmaceutical firms, but, also some that are outside. For instance I have sent them to Novartis (outside the US). I am a US citizen. Are my ideas still protected? I mean it is science, without accredition this system doesn't work?
    – deezina
    Feb 23, 2018 at 16:15
  • The reason I haven't patented is because I want to patent around the world (but don't have the resources). If the Pharmaaceutical firm is interested, there could be a deal in which they monetize my efforts.
    – deezina
    Feb 23, 2018 at 16:17
  • Think of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. There was a settlement because the idea might have had come from elsewhere. What differentiates my case is that it is science, and there is always accredition in science. While citing my name, nobody can claim a patent themselves?
    – deezina
    Feb 23, 2018 at 16:24
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    @deezina see edit. You might want to consult an attorney, after filing the first application many costs for other countries can be paid later. Maybe your publications won't count as publications in some countries, but you should discuss that with an attorney too, it will be very specific to the countries.
    – user18033
    Feb 23, 2018 at 17:59

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