I understand that a successful patent application can take several years from first filing to granted. I'm trying to understand what options a startup has in making progress on developing the product during this time. As far as I can tell, the idea must remain out of the public domain until the patent is granted. Therefore the only way I can release any details about the product is under non-disclosure agreement. This seems extremely limiting.
I was wondering if the idea can be released into the public domain (e.g. to sell an early version of the product) while the patent is pending (i.e. a provisional patent has been filed and a full application is being pursued) without invalidating the patent? I can't seem to find any clear yes or no answer on this.