The Disclosure Document Program is a service provided by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that allows inventors to file a description of their invention with the USPTO.
Why Would I Want to File a Description of My Invention with the USPTO?
You may want to file a description of your invention with the USPTO in order to protect your rights. Filing a disclosure document can help prove you were the first to think of the invention. If anyone else steals your idea or tries to patent the same invention, you can use the filed disclosure document as evidence that you were the actual inventor.
How Long Will the USPTO Keep My Disclosure Document on File?
The USPTO keeps a disclosure document for 2 years. After that, the PTO destroys it unless you reference the disclosure document in your patent application.
What Do I Include in My Submission to the Disclosure Document Program?
The USPTO requirements for the disclosure document program are fairly minimal. However, you do have to submit a few things to get your description filed.
- A disclosure document – you must submit a description of your invention. The best descriptions will explain how to make and use the invention, as well as what it does. You can include drawings, but videos and working models will not be accepted.
- A cover letter – In addition to the description, you also should submit a letter stating that you are the inventor and that you intend for this submission to be used for the disclosure document program. You can also use the Disclosure Document Deposit Request form (PTO/SB/95) found on the USPTO website as a cover letter.
- A $10 fee.
Does the Date I Submit My Disclosure Carry Over to My Patent?
No. A disclosure document only serves to prove you were first to conceive of the invention. The date of its receipt in the USPTO does not become the effective filing date for your patent.
If I Use the Disclosure Document Program, Does That Mean I Can Wait for Two Years to File for a Patent Without Losing Any Benefits?
Absolutely NOT. While submitting a disclosure document may prove that you were first to think of the idea, you must also show that you have been diligent in developing your invention and in applying for a patent. If you take a 2 year vacation from working on patenting your invention, you may lose out to another inventor even if you can prove you thought of the idea first.
Should I Contact a Patent Attorney?
If you are unsure about whether you should submit a description of your invention to the Disclosure Document Program, or about how the program works, an experienced intellectual property attorney should be able to answer any questions you may have.