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How can I protect my product after public disclosure?

epicdesign's Avatar

Hey everyone,

While in college I created a product in one of my sponsored design studios that I later presneted and "sold" (never received any money for the sales) at the sponsor's store as part of my class assignment. This was in December of 2015. Two years after this an opportunity came up where I could present my product to a distributor. After presenting and speaking with the distributor over the last couple of months I have seen an increased interest from them to potentially license the product from me. They have asked for some samples in the upcoming months which I'm in the process of creating. However this has made me realize that I need to try and protect my idea in some way.

Therefore I am wondering if there is any way that I can protect my idea since it has been nearly 2 years since public disclosure? Or if presenting it in such way even counts as public disclosure? 

Any help is appreciated. 

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magurn's Avatar

Hi EPIC!

Edison Nation cannot provide legal guidance on patent matters. We recommend that you speak with a patent attorney to determine the best strategy for your product.

We wish you the best of luck!

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chicagoinventor's Avatarg8_badge

There is a serious amount of gray area in your situation. Did the professor have the company sign an NDA (non disclosure agreement) in 2015 and does presenting it to classmates count as public disclosure?

Definitely a situation a lawyer would answer. 

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crystaldiane's Avatar

First  there are many products on the market that have no patent  so  I  would think if you have interest from someone  in licensing your idea  perhaps they would be willing to take on the  difficult task of getting a patent if they felt it was worthwhile  in the meantime your best self help would be to defer to the USPTO website

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crystaldiane's Avatar

First  there are many products on the market that have no patent  so  I  would think if you have interest from someone  in licensing your idea  perhaps they would be willing to take on the  difficult task of getting a patent if they felt it was worthwhile  in the meantime your best self help would be to defer to the USPTO website. Finally I would recommend you pick up a copy of Roger Brown's book called Common Sense inventing. Much of the advice you seek is in this book so instead of spending thousands of dollars pursuing something I would highly recommend you pick up a copy I suspect if you contacted Roger Brown he may even send it to you as he was a contributor here for years best you

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epicdesign's Avatar

Hey Michelle,

I understand, I just posted to see if anyone else here had previously faced a similar situation and could share their experience. 

Hey Daniel,

The product was "sold" in their store to the public so that's really were my "public disclosure" happened. But you're right there is a lot of gray area about public disclosure. I also wonder if presenting to classmates counts as public disclosure.

Hey Crystal-Diane,

Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll definitely go check it out

Thank you everyone for the help!

Crystal-Diane Nappi
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gizmo's Avatar

Epic,

If you or your classmates/teacher did "not"sign any disclosure agreements between each other the answer is yes. "Public Disclosure". Same answer on sold in stores. Public Disclosure.

If you have added additional technology ''subject matter" to the products function then the answer might be different.

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