I have used Google Docs to collaborate with distance partners to develop materials that are not confidential \ sensitive. The ability to quickly modify and discuss changes in real-time is terrific.

If a legal team (west coat / east coast / telecommuters) is drafting a NPA (Non Provisional Patent Application), with a PPA already submitted to the USPTO.

What is the risk if the PPA on Google Docs was viewed by an unauthorized viewer?

Ideally, one would have Sharepoint or similar in-house and external contributors could VPN in. Email is clunky \ outdated for collaboration and is not secure unless the extraordinary step of encryption is applied.

Any lesson-learned or best-practices are always appreciated.

  • epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/html/epc/2016/e/ar55.html
    – user18033
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 14:01
  • @DonQuiKong: could you please provide a one-liner (or more) to clarify the message? Maybe add it as an answer? Thanks ;)
    – gatorback
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 15:37
  • it's the European provision about publications without the consent of the inventor. It's pretty much the same in many other countries. But are you planning a PCT application? Else it wouldn't really matter because the US is different.
    – user18033
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 17:18

1 Answer 1


Just be careful how you share the document. For example, avoid sharing by link, as the URL can get stored in the history of a shared browser, and invite the people one by one.

Also you may "harden" the security of your Google Account by enabling 2 factor authentication.

  • +1 for mentioning 2 factor authentication. Do you know if Google Docs use encryption both on site and in transit?
    – Eric S
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 17:07
  • Seems that Google Suite is HIPAA compliant, so they should encrypt the data both in transit and at rest.
    – Victor
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 17:20

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