What is a public disclosure?
Public disclosure is giving someone outside of your partners, if applicable, the information to duplicate your product or idea. This can come in many formats such as, but not limited to, publication, seminars, and slideshows.
Who can I tell?
If you feel you must tell someone outside of your partners and the OIC, it is wise to have the person in question sign a confidentiality form before you discuss your innovation. If this is the case, let the OIC know before you start the IP Protection Process.
Why is disclosing to the Office of Innovation important?
Disclosure to the OIC allows for the Licensing officers to decipher if they can apply for patent protection of your product or idea. If you make a public disclosure, this may result in a loss of certain patent rights due to regional differences. This is made even more urgent by the recently added America Invents Act law change. The AIA law change makes the US patent system into a first to file basis rather than the first to invent. Therefore, if you publicly disclose your invention before it is protected you could lose the right to file for a patent.
What rights will I forfeit?
In the US, if you have publicly disclosed your innovation, you have a one year grace period to apply for a patent. If you exceed this grace period, your idea is no longer able to be patented. However, the minute you publicly disclose your idea, without a patent, you have lost your ability to apply for foreign protection.
What information do I need to disclose to the Office of Innovation?
One should disclose the title or name of your project and a detailed explanation of your idea required. The explanation should be detailed enough that someone in your field could re-enact the project.** This is needed for the examination of other patents to make sure your idea has not already been filed for a patent. All of the information that is given to the OIC will be kept confidential and will not be shared with anyone outside of your knowledge.