Patent Emergency! What to do when you’ve (accidentally) disclosed your invention before you’ve filed a patent application
In many countries, including the UK, one of the cornerstones of the patent system is that you should apply for a patent before disclosing your invention publicly. This is because the ‘self-disclosure’ can be used to invalidate a subsequently filed patent application. That’s a horrible situation, because you may have really shot yourself in the foot in terms of getting patent protection in the UK and many other countries. For this reason, we firmly advise that you keep the invention secret before filing a patent application on the invention. But in the real world these things can happen. So what can you do if you’ve accidentally disclosed your invention before you’ve filed a patent application?