shooting yourself in the foot....

Bill Alexander alexanderw at
Tue Apr 30 10:08:59 EST 1996

In Article <aquilla.1181176713F at>,
aquilla at (Tracy Aquilla) wrote:
>In Article <199604250716.IAA00576 at>, k9mhc at
>(Mr Vid Mohan-Ram) wrote:
>>hi...since this is a 'public domain'...if you describe details
>>of your experimental work does that make your research void if
>>you want to patent a part of it for example?...just wondering
>Generally, not in the US (i.e. publication is permitted and should not
>affect US patents), 

Not true, you have 1 year (in the US) from the first enabling publication or
presentation to file your patent application.  Even a detailed abstract can
get you in trouble because your own disclosure can be used to reject your
patent application.

>but in the UK, my understanding is that you don't want
>to publicly disclose ANYTHING about your patent before it has been granted
>(i.e. Brit. patents). I suggest consulting competent counsel on this matter
>if you're serious about protecting an invention.

Once you have filed your application you should be OK (unless you lose your
original filing date).

>>Yes, but the future competitors could, and would use this as public
>>disclosure to invalidate any patent granted by the commissioners.
>>Any disclosure to others should have a confidentiality agreement to protect
>>your invention.  How can you do that on internet?
>>Walt Schick

Well you are right here but MOST of the postings here do not give enough
details to cause problems.  Most of the posting do leave out the gene or
species being studied and are therefore not enabling disclosures.  Walt is
right that your competitors could search the archives in the future and try
to use any disclosures against you.  They might be able to cause you a lot
of trouble by disclosing your Usenet postings the day after your patent is
allowed.  Patent Law charges inventors with knowing of EVERY publication in
all countries related to their inventions.

Bill Alexander
alexanderw at

     "640K ought to be enough for anybody." -- Bill Gates, 1981

More information about the Methods mailing list