Working on a project and found an element that can potentially be patentable. I do not want to go through provisional filling yet. Nor do I want to disclose it. Just thinking for now wherever or not to file a patent period. Have internal documentation with a timestamp of when I began working on this idea.

Can another company in the same space effectively block my team from moving further with the overall project if they decide to file (I don't think this idea is particularly original but definitely patentable?)

1 Answer 1


Yes - as of the 2012 AIA law the U.S. has joined the rest of the world to be a first-to-file nation. Your quiet (unpublished) work will have zero effect on their patent application or any patent that flows from it no matter how good your timestamps. Under the AIA, it is rare for a timestamped document or inventor's notebook to come into play.

Before that change, an earlier-inventor had a chance to get priority over an earlier-filer who could be proved to be a later-inventor.

If you publish before they file, your publication will qualify as prior art against their filing. In the U.S. you have a sort-of grace period of a year to then file. I do not usually recommend that; the grace period has holes in it and publishing before filing kills any possible foreign filing ever.

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