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Author Topic: Got an invention to patent, but afraid to disclose it....  (Read 6176 times)

paragon01

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Hello all,

Like many other aspiring inventors out there, I believe that I have an invention that may be worth a ton of money.

Because of the perceived value that I feel this invention has, I am extremely paranoid about disclosing any part of it to anyone.

Obviously, I need to patent the invention; however, due to my extreme paranoia, I'd find myself extremely reluctant to disclose the details of my invention for fear that my invention/idea could be stolen....not necessarily by the attorney himself, but by a third party.

While I do agree that it's highly unlikely that a patent attorney would try to directly steal an idea from an inventor (as they would have their career/reputation to risk), what is to stop them from passing along the idea to some affiliated person or company for them to patent in exchange for a part of the profit?

You might say that a NDA covers this, but then again, how could it ever be proven that a NDA was violated and that the third party filing the patent didn't legitimately come up with the idea on their own? How could it ever be PROVEN there was complicity involved between the attorney and third party and that the patent was filed as the result of a NDA violation?

I know this scenario may sound crazy to some, but it could happen...you never know. I know the probabilities are slim to none, but I don't want to take any chances. Whether or not it's irrational to think in this way is not what I wish to discuss, so please don't respond about my paranoia....I can't be talked out of it.

So what I'd like to know is this....Are there any actions that I can take to fully and officially protect my idea PRIOR to speaking with a patent attorney? If so, can it be done without having to disclose details to anyone? What are my options?
« Last Edit: 02-21-12 at 01:34 am by paragon01 »
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bleedingpen

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Re: Got an invention to patent, but afraid to disclose it....
« Reply #1 on: 02-20-12 at 07:12 pm »

Hello all,

Like many other aspiring inventors out there, I believe that I have an invention that may be worth a ton of money.

Because of the perceived value that I feel this invention has, I am extremely paranoid about disclosing any part of it to anyone.

Obviously, I need to patent the invention; however, due to my extreme paranoia, I'd find myself extremely reluctant to disclose details of my invention to a patent attorney in fears that my invention/idea could be stolen....not necessarily by the attorney himself, but by a third party.

While I do agree that it's highly unlikely that a patent attorney would try to directly steal an idea from an inventor (as they would have their career/reputation to risk), what is to stop them from passing along the idea to some affiliated person or company for them to patent in exchange for a secret arrangement made by attorney and third party that would allow such attorney to receive a percentage of any potential profits down the road?

You might say that a NDA covers this, but then again, how could it ever be proven that the NDA was violated and that the third party filing the patent didn't legitimately come up with the idea on their own? How could it ever be PROVEN there was complicity involved between the attorney and third party and that the patent was filed as the result of a NDA violation?

I know this scenario may sound ludicrous to some, but I just wanted to establish the reason for my paranoia in regards to patent filing. I know the probabilities of such a scenario happening are slim to none, but I don't want to take any chances. Whether or not it's irrational to think in this way is not what I wish to discuss.

So what I'd like to know is this....Are there any actions that I can take to fully and officially protect my idea PRIOR to speaking with a patent attorney? If so, can it be done without having to disclose details to anyone? What are my options?

Disbarment.  Loss of income.  Public ridicule. 

Your paranoia is wildly unreasonable.  It hardly justifies a response.
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MYK

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Re: Got an invention to patent, but afraid to disclose it....
« Reply #2 on: 02-20-12 at 09:59 pm »

Just to make clear what bleedingpen wrote:  if your patent attorney attempted to steal your invention, all you would have to do to destroy his life is complain to the USPTO.  He would be disbarred at the least, and would be liable to you (as in, being forced to pay you huge gobs of money) for malpractice as well.

If you're still terrified, you could always write it up yourself.  Nothing prohibits you from acting pro se.
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"The life of a patent solicitor has always been a hard one."  Judge Giles Rich, Application of Ruschig, 379 F.2d 990.

Disclaimer: not only am I not a lawyer, I'm not your lawyer.  Therefore, this does not constitute legal advice.

paragon01

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Re: Got an invention to patent, but afraid to disclose it....
« Reply #3 on: 02-21-12 at 12:22 am »

Hello all,

Like many other aspiring inventors out there, I believe that I have an invention that may be worth a ton of money.

Because of the perceived value that I feel this invention has, I am extremely paranoid about disclosing any part of it to anyone.

Obviously, I need to patent the invention; however, due to my extreme paranoia, I'd find myself extremely reluctant to disclose details of my invention to a patent attorney in fears that my invention/idea could be stolen....not necessarily by the attorney himself, but by a third party.

While I do agree that it's highly unlikely that a patent attorney would try to directly steal an idea from an inventor (as they would have their career/reputation to risk), what is to stop them from passing along the idea to some affiliated person or company for them to patent in exchange for a secret arrangement made by attorney and third party that would allow such attorney to receive a percentage of any potential profits down the road?

You might say that a NDA covers this, but then again, how could it ever be proven that the NDA was violated and that the third party filing the patent didn't legitimately come up with the idea on their own? How could it ever be PROVEN there was complicity involved between the attorney and third party and that the patent was filed as the result of a NDA violation?

I know this scenario may sound ludicrous to some, but I just wanted to establish the reason for my paranoia in regards to patent filing. I know the probabilities of such a scenario happening are slim to none, but I don't want to take any chances. Whether or not it's irrational to think in this way is not what I wish to discuss.

So what I'd like to know is this....Are there any actions that I can take to fully and officially protect my idea PRIOR to speaking with a patent attorney? If so, can it be done without having to disclose details to anyone? What are my options?

Disbarment.  Loss of income.  Public ridicule. 

Your paranoia is wildly unreasonable.  It hardly justifies a response.

Bleedingpen, I completely disagree. It absolutely does justify a response. It's not unreasonable to think that such a situation could occur regardless of the consequences or how remote the possibility.

I'm sure over 99% of all PA's are honest, trustworthy and would never do what I've described. However, you can't tell me with absolute certainty that it couldn't or wouldn't ever happen.

Please people, I don't want the discussion to be about whether or not my paranoia is justified. Let's keep it focused on the questions I have regarding what options are available for the safeguarding/protection of an invention or idea prior to disclosure with a patent attorney.



« Last Edit: 02-21-12 at 01:05 am by paragon01 »
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paragon01

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Re: Got an invention to patent, but afraid to disclose it....
« Reply #4 on: 02-21-12 at 12:50 am »

Just to make clear what bleedingpen wrote:  if your patent attorney attempted to steal your invention, all you would have to do to destroy his life is complain to the USPTO.  He would be disbarred at the least, and would be liable to you (as in, being forced to pay you huge gobs of money) for malpractice as well.

If you're still terrified, you could always write it up yourself.  Nothing prohibits you from acting pro se.

Thanks for the response, that's good to know. Yeah, I'm considering going pro se as that would probably be the safest route.

From what I understand, the primary downside to going pro se is that you have to be extremely competent and know exactly what you're doing in regards to the patent drafting process, especially in regards to how the patent specification is worded. Any ambiguities in the wording of a patent specification could lead to misinterpretations and ultimately create conflicts with similarly filed patents in the future.

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bleedingpen

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Re: Got an invention to patent, but afraid to disclose it....
« Reply #5 on: 02-21-12 at 07:40 am »


I'm sure over 99% of all PA's are honest, trustworthy and would never do what I've described. However, you can't tell me with absolute certainty that it couldn't or wouldn't ever happen.


I can tell you with absolute certainty that it is much more likely that you will &$%^ up acting pro se than it is that a patent attorney is going to steal your invention. 
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paragon01

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Re: Got an invention to patent, but afraid to disclose it....
« Reply #6 on: 02-21-12 at 10:34 am »


I'm sure over 99% of all PA's are honest, trustworthy and would never do what I've described. However, you can't tell me with absolute certainty that it couldn't or wouldn't ever happen.


I can tell you with absolute certainty that it is much more likely that you will &$%^ up acting pro se than it is that a patent attorney is going to steal your invention. 

Yeah, I can agree with that.

Sure, the likelihood of screwing up the pro se option is higher than the chances of getting my invention stolen...but at least it's a likelihood that I'd have DIRECT CONTROL and influence over. You can't say that about the other option no matter how unlikely the possibility.

If my invention were to miss out on certain protections due to incompetence of going pro se, then I'd have myself to blame. But at least in this case I could blame myself only and noone else if that were to happen...that, I could live with.

Perhaps it doesn't have to come to that point. If there's a way to officially prevent an idea/invention from being ripped off and patented by another prior to meeting with a PA, then I'd like to know about it. I've heard some people say that documenting the entire development of the idea along with dates and times prior to patenting it would be sufficient in serving this purpose, but I'm not so sure.
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bleedingpen

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Re: Got an invention to patent, but afraid to disclose it....
« Reply #7 on: 02-21-12 at 12:21 pm »


I'm sure over 99% of all PA's are honest, trustworthy and would never do what I've described. However, you can't tell me with absolute certainty that it couldn't or wouldn't ever happen.


I can tell you with absolute certainty that it is much more likely that you will &$%^ up acting pro se than it is that a patent attorney is going to steal your invention. 

Yeah, I can agree with that.

Sure, the likelihood of screwing up the pro se option is higher than the chances of getting my invention stolen...but at least it's a likelihood that I'd have DIRECT CONTROL and influence over. You can't say that about the other option no matter how unlikely the possibility.

If my invention were to miss out on certain protections due to incompetence of going pro se, then I'd have myself to blame. But at least in this case I could blame myself only and noone else if that were to happen...that, I could live with.

Perhaps it doesn't have to come to that point. If there's a way to officially prevent an idea/invention from being ripped off and patented by another prior to meeting with a PA, then I'd like to know about it. I've heard some people say that documenting the entire development of the idea along with dates and times prior to patenting it would be sufficient in serving this purpose, but I'm not so sure.

how are you going to prove the dates in your notebook are the actual dates of conception/reduction to practice/etc?
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paragon01

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Re: Got an invention to patent, but afraid to disclose it....
« Reply #8 on: 02-22-12 at 10:25 am »


I'm sure over 99% of all PA's are honest, trustworthy and would never do what I've described. However, you can't tell me with absolute certainty that it couldn't or wouldn't ever happen.


I can tell you with absolute certainty that it is much more likely that you will &$%^ up acting pro se than it is that a patent attorney is going to steal your invention. 

Yeah, I can agree with that.

Sure, the likelihood of screwing up the pro se option is higher than the chances of getting my invention stolen...but at least it's a likelihood that I'd have DIRECT CONTROL and influence over. You can't say that about the other option no matter how unlikely the possibility.

If my invention were to miss out on certain protections due to incompetence of going pro se, then I'd have myself to blame. But at least in this case I could blame myself only and noone else if that were to happen...that, I could live with.

Perhaps it doesn't have to come to that point. If there's a way to officially prevent an idea/invention from being ripped off and patented by another prior to meeting with a PA, then I'd like to know about it. I've heard some people say that documenting the entire development of the idea along with dates and times prior to patenting it would be sufficient in serving this purpose, but I'm not so sure.

how are you going to prove the dates in your notebook are the actual dates of conception/reduction to practice/etc?
Like I said, I'm not so sure about this idea...and the question you raised is the primary reason why. I don't know if there's any official way to prove dates and times...a way that would be recognized and acceptable by the patent office other than maybe the use of a public notary.

Can anyone here give some insight into this?
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MYK

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Re: Got an invention to patent, but afraid to disclose it....
« Reply #9 on: 02-22-12 at 04:05 pm »

This raises the question of whether inventors' notebooks are even useful in our new no-longer-first-to-file world.
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"The life of a patent solicitor has always been a hard one."  Judge Giles Rich, Application of Ruschig, 379 F.2d 990.

Disclaimer: not only am I not a lawyer, I'm not your lawyer.  Therefore, this does not constitute legal advice.

bleedingpen

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Re: Got an invention to patent, but afraid to disclose it....
« Reply #10 on: 02-22-12 at 04:33 pm »

Like I said, I'm not so sure about this idea...and the question you raised is the primary reason why. I don't know if there's any official way to prove dates and times...a way that would be recognized and acceptable by the patent office other than maybe the use of a public notary.

Can anyone here give some insight into this?

You could just snap photos of your invention notebook with a digital camera with a time stamp.

But I guess someone could break into your house and steal the camera and then steal your idea.  Maybe the CIA, the Russian mafia, the Iranians, or hell even a patent attorney.  Better be especially careful with that last group.
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NJ Patent1

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Re: Got an invention to patent, but afraid to disclose it....
« Reply #11 on: 02-22-12 at 06:15 pm »

Paragon:  Per Bleeding, you will more likely than not screw it up.  But if you are most comfortable going pro se, just do it.  Sometimes it does work, and a good atty or agent might be able to salvage at least something from the rubble later.  Spend some time on the USPTO web site pages for individual inventors.  Ask other pro se applicants on this forum to share their experiences. 

Off-hand the only suggestion I can offer is to 1) prepare a proper detailed invention disclosure.  If you can't write a bare minimum of 3 - 5 pages, plus figures if appropriate, you likely have a just naked idea and not a patentable invention (in which case you will need an atty or agent to help you flesh it out).  2) Sign and date the document in front of a Notary and obtain notarization. 3) Now take it to your attorney / agent.  But don't be surprised if you have trouble finding one who will take the case.  Your formaility will suggest lack of trust from the start, suggesting you may be a client more trouble than you are worth. 

MYK:  Good point.  Notebooks may still have some relevance in derivation proceedings, but alone would not carry the day.

MYK & Bleeding:  Nice to be back in communication.  Hope this spam crap is burried soon. 
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bleedingpen

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Re: Got an invention to patent, but afraid to disclose it....
« Reply #12 on: 02-22-12 at 08:22 pm »

the notary might steal the idea too


wow, terrible typo on my part
« Last Edit: 02-23-12 at 02:10 pm by bleedingpen »
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paragon01

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Re: Got an invention to patent, but afraid to disclose it....
« Reply #13 on: 02-23-12 at 12:08 pm »

Paragon:  Per Bleeding, you will more likely than not screw it up.  But if you are most comfortable going pro se, just do it.  Sometimes it does work, and a good atty or agent might be able to salvage at least something from the rubble later.  Spend some time on the USPTO web site pages for individual inventors.  Ask other pro se applicants on this forum to share their experiences. 

Off-hand the only suggestion I can offer is to 1) prepare a proper detailed invention disclosure.  If you can't write a bare minimum of 3 - 5 pages, plus figures if appropriate, you likely have a just naked idea and not a patentable invention (in which case you will need an atty or agent to help you flesh it out).  2) Sign and date the document in front of a Notary and obtain notarization. 3) Now take it to your attorney / agent.  But don't be surprised if you have trouble finding one who will take the case.  Your formaility will suggest lack of trust from the start, suggesting you may be a client more trouble than you are worth.

NJ Paten1, thanks for the info. I appreciate it.

Quote from: bleedingpen
You could just snap photos of your invention notebook with a digital camera with a time stamp.

Bad idea with the time stamp. Digital photos can be easily manipulated.

Quote from: bleedingpen
But I guess someone could break into your house and steal the camera and then steal your idea.  Maybe the CIA, the Russian mafia, the Iranians, or hell even a patent attorney.  Better be especially careful with that last group.

Obviously a sarcastic statement. The fact that you don't hold any obvious regard for worst case scenarios suggests that you yourself would probably be an easier target to steal an idea from than one who takes their ideas more seriously.

Quote from: bleedingpen
the notary might still the idea too

I doubt that's possible. If I understand correctly, notaries witness the signing of documents. I don't believe they read them...in which case, the idea wouldn't be stolen.
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bleedingpen

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Re: Got an invention to patent, but afraid to disclose it....
« Reply #14 on: 02-23-12 at 02:11 pm »



Obviously a sarcastic statement. The fact that you don't hold any obvious regard for worst case scenarios suggests that you yourself would probably be an easier target to steal an idea from than one who takes their ideas more seriously.


You got me.  I have made lots of money stealing brilliant ideas from inventors that didn't properly protect themselves
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