Can you show your invention to few individuals (who are not your patent attorney etc), without making it count as having published your patent or otherwise invalidating the ability to patent it?

This question is assuming they didn't go and post it on their blog etc, stole it, or published stuff that makes your patent too obvious.... in short, the question is about legitimacy to patent, not about risks of showing it to individuals.

Likewise, this question assumes you show them anything about the invention, not just an output created by it or something that does not reveal the crux or inner-workings of the invention. Showing up to full disclosure.


It isn't how many people you show it to, but under what circumstances. If there is an understanding of confidentiality you are ok. And in the U.S., there is still a version of a one year grace period. Also, even if it is a confidential setting,if you say "do you want to buy one when I go into production?". You are back in trouble triggering the one year grace period. The AIA law changed the details of all this in a way that remains to be settled in the courts.

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  • understanding of confidentiality? what does a setting need to include in order for it to count as such??! I seem to know little about that but I'm sure it's possible to delineate it... – matt Dec 18 '13 at 19:23
  • here's some info about the grace period stuff, for anyone who may read this later and wishes to know how it connects. goo.gl/IcJ1HB. – matt Dec 18 '13 at 19:26
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    An NDA agreement would work. Discussing an invention with colleagues at the same company while developing a company project would. Probably - "I need this kept confidential, can you agree to that?" works. – George White Dec 18 '13 at 19:30
  • Thanks! Is that so because one assumes the NDA or equivalent terms you mention will be kept, or does it also, even partially, somehow apply, in the less likely case that they are broken? – matt Dec 18 '13 at 19:34
  • If you tell A non confidentially you have publicly disclosed it even if A never tells anyone. If you confidentially tell A and A breaks that agreement and tells B you are probably still ok. If this is a real scenario please get competent legal advice. – George White Dec 18 '13 at 19:58

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