It is important to file a patent application before publicly disclosing the details of an invention. In general, an invention which is made public before an application is filed would be considered “prior art ” (although the definition of the term “prior art” is not uniform at the international level, in many countries, it refers to any information which has been made available to the public anywhere in the world by written or oral disclosure before the filing date).
In countries that apply the above definition of the term “prior art”, an applicant’s public disclosure of an invention prior to filing a patent application would prevent him/her from obtaining a valid patent for that invention, since the invention would not comply with the novelty requirement. Some countries, however, allow for a grace period – usually between 6 and 12 months – which provides a safeguard for applicants who disclosed their inventions before filing a patent application. Further, the novelty criteria may be interpreted differently depending on the applicable law.
If disclosing your invention before filing a patent application is unavoidable – for example, to a potential investor or a business partner – then any disclosure should be accompanied by a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement, which we can help you with. It should also be kept in mind that applying early for patent protection will generally be helpful when seeking financial support to commercialize an invention.