Definition: Disclosure

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Definition: Disclosure is an intellectual property term that means one of two things.


  1. A disclosure is any public distribution of information about an invention, by print, demonstrations, or other means.
  2. Disclosure also refers to any part of a patent application process where the inventor discloses details about his invention. An adequate disclosure would let a person skilled in the area of your invention reproduce or use your invention.

Tips on Disclosure in a Patent Application

The US Patent and Trade Office specifically details which Individuals do and don't have a duty of disclosure with respect to a patent application. According to the USPTO, the duty of disclosure is limited to individuals who are "substantively involved in the preparation or prosecution of the application", including inventors and patent attorneys. It also specifies that the disclosure duty does not extend to "typists, clerks, and similar personnel who assist with an application."

The duty of disclosure applies to your patent application and extends to any proceedings before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences and the Office of the Commissioner for Patents.

All disclosures with the Patent and Trademark Office should be transacted in writing, not orally.

Violations of the duty of disclosure are not taken lightly. According to the USPTO, "A finding of 'fraud,' 'inequitable conduct,' or violation of duty of disclosure with respect to any claim in an application or patent, renders all the claims thereof unpatentable or invalid."

Also Known As: Disclosed

Examples: In return for a patent, the inventor gives as consideration a complete revelation or disclosure of the invention which protection is sought.