Information on the Invention Disclosure Form
This page outlines the key information that you will need to disclose about your invention.
- Describe the invention in general terms: What does it do? How does it do it?
- Include sketches drawings, block diagrams (flow charts), and examples, prototype pictures or actual prototypes if possible.
Details of the Invention
- What parts (steps, if a method) make up the invention, in its best (preferred) form?
- What does each contribute to the invention?
- Which parts are new to this invention (in form or usage), which are old (conventional, used in the expected way)?
- In what way do the parts interact to make the invention work?
- In what ways could the parts (steps) be changed or equivalent parts substituted without changing the basic invention?
- Is there a generic description for any of the parts you listed (e.g. "fastener" instead of "Machine Screw", or "plastic" instead of "polypropylene")?
- Could the functions of any of the parts be changed, combined, eliminated?
- What could be added to make the invention work better?
- What could be left out?
- Alternate Use: Can your invention be used for anything other than its preferred use?
- When will the invention not work?
- Are there any critical ranges of size, weight, pressure, etc. for any of the parts of your invention? (e.g. "the cap must be made of steel with a Rockwell hardness of 32-56")
- Must some parts be made of specific substances?
- In order to be patentable, an invention must be NOVEL, USEFUL and NOT OBVIOUS to one skilled in the art, based upon everything that was available at the time of the invention.
- State of the Art: Consider what was already in existence (whether patented or not) before the invention.
- How is the function of the invention being done today?
- What is the closest device (method) you are aware of to your invention?
- Is there something that performs the same function in a different way?
- Is there any combination of existing devices (methods) which would be similar to your invention?
- How does your invention perform its function different from, or better than, these prior devices (methods)?
- How are they similar?
Resources for search
- If you hadn't invented the invention, where would you go to find one?
- What catalogs, publications, etc. would you look in?
- What literature and products were consulted to develop the invention?
- Which available documents describe what is closest to the invention?
- To what extent have you looked?
- Who would be likely to purchase or use the invention?
- Do you know of any publications that might describe the invention or its competitors?
Third Party Rights
- Other Inventors: Is there anyone else who contributed to the conception or reduction to practice of the invention, in more than a purely mechanical way?
- Rights in Others: Are you under any obligation to assign any rights in the invention to others?
- Was the invention developed in the course of your employment, or using any facilities belonging to your employer?
- Do you have an agreement with your employer that you will assign any inventions you may make to the employer?
- Was the invention developed in the course of a consulting agreement with someone else? If so, did you agree that any inventions belong to them?
- Was there any funding of the development of the invention by any party (government agency, school, etc.) who might claim rights in the invention?
- Was any equipment or facilities used in the development of the invention which was funded by or belongs to any government agency?