Keep your idea to yourself, especially if you want to protect it with intellectual property rights.
- Keep your invention secret as long as you have not applied for a patent. If you make your invention public in any form before you apply for a patent, it is no longer patentable. To be patentable, an invention must be novel (among other things). An invention is novel when no one anywhere in the world has heard of it before the application date. If you expose your invention at an exhibit or in a scientific publication before you file your patent application, it becomes what is known as 'prior art' and is no longer considered novel when you apply for a patent.
- The same is true for protecting designs. A design must be new in order for it to be protected.
- A trade mark should also be unpublished before you apply for registration. If not, someone else can register it in their name. Trade mark rights are reserved for whoever registers first.
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