Although it may sound unlikely, I believe I discovered a chemical. I am highly inexperienced in chemistry and law and now seeking assistance. If I am correct in my discovery, this chemical has potential of being very valuable. That being said, I would like to protect every aspect of the chemical and it's potential. Since I am inexperienced in chemistry, I will need the assistance of a chemist to help identify the new chemical before I can patent it, but I do not want that chemist to steal or use the chemical other than identifying it.. I could give the chemist a sample of the chemical to try identifying it and there shouldn't be any more information given.

Is an NDA the best choice of protection? Should I consult a lawyer? Any advice is accepted.

  • Not relevant to the answer, but how do you know you've "discovered" a new chemical if you are inexperienced in chemistry and don't have it identified?
    – Eric S
    Commented Feb 1, 2020 at 23:38
  • I use identified to mean the composition and structure of the chemical. I also use "discovered" to describe the chemical as naturally occurring and not something I created. The chemical in question has very particular characteristics, and it's existence has been debated. Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 1:48
  • You could say it's just speculation, but it would greatly put my mind at ease to know if I am wrong or not. Sorry if I answered your question vaguely. Just think of it like you're drinking a beer and you don't know how the alcohol affects you, but you know it works, because you get drunk. Alcohol has a very particular effect. Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 1:57
  • I’m not at all sure you are able to patent a naturally occurring substance. You should ask that question. You definitely can patent a novel use for a naturally occurring substance or a novel method of processing it.
    – Eric S
    Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 13:32
  • Since the chemical is naturally occurring, do you think an NDA can protect the method of obtaining or collecting the chemical? I feel like I won't need to disclose this information, but in case I do, I would like to protect that info. Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 19:14

2 Answers 2


From my familiarity with chemical art the first step after discovering a new chemical is to register the compound and get a CAS number assigned by American chemical society they maintain world wide data base of the compounds if the compound had already been disclosed to CAS the CAS number would be provided for you.

If the compound has been discovered i.e., isolated from existing plants or organism then the patent would not be granted for the chemical isolated. As tested by courts and available case law the mere isolation of naturally occurring chemical would not grant patent rights.

In isolation of chemicals naturally occurring the process of isolation, purification or analytical methods can be patented.

I will need the assistance of a chemist to help identify the new chemical before I can patent it.

If the compound has not been identify, what are your claims going to be? identify the chemical first and search for the disclosure of compound with databases.Use an NDA with a chemist to identify the compound.

  • 1
    There are patents on product-by-process that do not claim or even understand the resulting substance, just a way to make it.
    – George White
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 18:06
  • My claim would be that I have contained the chemical in a solution and I could give a sample that doesn't have the chemical and a sample that does, which a person should easily distinguish the difference. If the chemical could be identified in a mixture of many chemicals then it would be an easy and fast process, I'd assume. If not, the chemist will have to help with finding better solvents or anything else that could lead to the isolation of the chemical. Commented Feb 14, 2020 at 21:20

You need a chemist and a registered patent practitioner specifically experienced in patenting chemicals. It is a world or its own within patent law. Use an NDA with chemists you interview; it is not needed with patent attorneys or agents.

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