I've written a technical paper and have sent it for publication. There's a chance that some other can make use of my paper and file a patent before me. How to protect the paper, when we are publishing it before a patent has been taken for it.

Another situation in the same line is that you are explaining your business idea to angel investors. They may reject your idea there and set up the start-up as it was their own idea.What measures need to be taken for such situations.

3 Answers 3


First i want to answer your question related to publishing as a technical paper before applying for a patent. In USPTO, prior art exception are made by the US Patent Law under the AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1)(A) for novelty AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1). These exceptions limit the use of an inventor's own work as prior art, when the inventor's own work has been publicly disclosed by the inventor, a joint inventor, or another who obtained the subject matter directly or indirectly from the inventor or joint inventor not more than one year before the effective filing date of the claimed invention. AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1)(A) provides that a disclosure which would otherwise qualify as prior art under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) is not prior art if the disclosure was made: (1) One year or less before the effective filing date of the claimed invention; and (2) by the inventor or a joint inventor, or by another who obtained the subject matter directly or indirectly from the inventor or joint inventor.

Regarding others trying to make use of your paper, it is not possible, since the technical paper that has been published will be conbsidered has an prior art by the patent examiner during the examination process.

For further details please check the link below http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/s2153.html http://www.invntree.com/blogs/can-publicly-disclosed-inventions-be-patented-in-india




It isn't elegant or optimal but you can take a copy of the paper, attach a provisional patent application cover sheet and a check and express mail it to the USPTO. Or do the electronic equivalent with PDFs.

Regarding inventors, they generally will not sign NDAs because they see so many plans that might have overlapping concepts. Again, a vey informal provisional application that is just your slide deck or product spec. Can be filed very inexpensively. If you do that don't think you're covered, just that you're covered to the extent of the content of what you filed.


Simple old fashioned way - completely and in detail describe your idea/invention on the paper, put everything to the postal letter, glue - take to the Post office and send it to YOURSELF. When you will receive your own letter on your address - do not open it, save in that closed way for the court. The official postal date stamp on letter is the only and main proof of the date of invention, this letter must be given to the hands of judge - which can open it and make sure that you're the first author and all registered patents will be forced to reflect this discovery. The notarial registration of the copy can also be used. This is very old primitive but effective way and many patenting troll companies are really fear such things like unknown author which can show anytime to bring the claims for the invention.

  • 1
    Huge myth! This answer is completely WRONG! It not recognized as evidence and if it were, it would be evidence that you had the idea by some particular time. With first-to-file no one cares when you thought of it, only when you either published or filed. What makes the answer worse is the OP has sent it for publication. The publication will prove he had the idea at the time of submission, if that mattered any more, which it doesn't.
    – George White
    Jan 25, 2014 at 19:00
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    That is hardly a flame. Incorrect advice was marked as such.
    – Ron J.
    Jan 26, 2014 at 13:29
  • In contrast to George White i can say that publication is not the protection at all. People don't live in vacuum, they live and work in society, in groups and sometimes you can easily get in situation when you must prove who first made the idea of for example engine - when your colleague published it. Please i'm asking the patent lawyers who made problems of current system - to stop downrating all of my comments, this is against the fairness of speech. We have a precedent court system not a german type one. Jun 18, 2018 at 12:59

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