Is a photograph showing a senior government official, for example, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, viewing a prototype considered evidence of "public disclosure to the government" which would preclude the subsequent filing of a patent on the prototype?

  • Hi, AskPatents is a web service in Q&A format for users to help find prior art for US Patent Applications and US Patents and to ask questions about the US Patent process. We have found that questions about patent strategy do not lend themselves to the Q&A format used here. I have edited your question to focus on the question of what constitutes public disclosure rather than the question of photograph-taking in companies. If I have missed anything feel free to edit your question back to the original. However, please see faq for an indication of what is on-topic for AskPatents. Jul 8, 2013 at 11:04

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The relevant question isn't: Was something "disclosed to the government"? Submitting to the USPTO is literally disclosing to the government. Working under confidentiality as a government contractor might involve disclosing to the government.

Who might be documented in a photo as sitting at a table with whom would also not be particularly relevant. What is relevant is whether or not something ready for patenting was offered for sale, was explained, was "used", was entirely under the control of the inventor, was an experimental use, was demonstrated under an understanding of confidentiality, etc. A photo wouldn't usually provide much insight to those issues.

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