It is the relationship between the parties that determines whether the disclosure is public or made in confidence. The disclosure is legally confidential if, the recipient personally understands and accepts a duty to keep the information confidential. A disclosure to an academic colleague may or may not be considered confidential depending on the understanding between the parties. Any printed publication in a newspaper, scientific journal or other written form available on an unrestricted basis is a public disclosure, as is an oral presentation at a public meeting. Published pre- prints or abstracts of (a) papers for a scientific meeting or (b) degree theses are also considered public disclosures. A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) can be used to ensure confidentiality and protect the IP (Talk to your Technology Transfer/Business Development Office to arrange for this).
2.5 Effect of a Publication on Patent Rights
An application must be filed in Canada or the U.S. within one year of a disclosure (anywhere in the world) made by the inventor. However, a disclosure prior to filing the application by the inventor or other person is a bar to filing the application in most other countries.
A publication, anywhere in the world, that is published prior to the priority date of the application and that describes the invention is an immediate bar to a patent in most foreign countries. In foreign countries which adhere to an International Convention on priority, a publication which describes an invention is not a bar to a patent provided that the publication appeared after the filing date of the priority application, for example a U.S. or Canadian patent application on the invention and provided that the foreign patent application is filed within one year of the priority filing date.
2.6 I Think My Invention is Patentable, Now What?
If you think your invention may be patentable (novel, has utility and not obvious) contact your Technology Transfer Office immediately. Be aware that publication may impact any opportunity to patent. You will be asked to complete an invention disclosure form so that the intellectual property assessment process can begin.
3. Intellectual Property Assessment Process
Once a researcher or clinician-scientist feels that he/she has made an invention, contact your Technology Transfer/Business Development office. They will assist you in completing an invention disclosure form that will initiate the formal institutional intellectual property assessment process/review of your invention.