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The Truth About Invention Disclosures

How the right editing services can set you on the path to protect that IP.


When you open your GPS to get directions, you must know your destination before you can identify the path to get there. The same is true for writing. You must define the purpose to effectively develop your ideas for the reader. With technical documents, a subject matter expert (SME) might present their ideas for illustration, instruction, analysis, presentation, and more. One document cannot serve all these purposes.

How one document gets two purposes

Let’s look at SMEs as innovators – inventors. They want to patent their ideas. So, inventors submit their novel methods, systems, and designs to an internal patent review committee via an Invention Disclosure Form (IDF) or some version of an IDF. The inventor’s intention is for the review committee to move their contribution to patent application processing.

Despite the desire to patent as many ideas as possible, the committees cannot pass them all to the patent application stage. An effective strategy to add the innovation to the IP portfolio and protect their Freedom to Operate in a technology area is to defensively publish the idea. The company’s intention is to place the inventor’s contribution in the public domain.

Now, one document, the IDF, potentially has two purposes:
• Describe the idea for internal review
• Describe the idea for public consumption and intellectual property protection

Like a vehicle on the road, it cannot operate in two places at once.

An invention disclosure does not equal a defensive publication

… because not only the purpose, but also the audience, the vocabulary, and the security level are different. Here is a snapshot comparison:

Invention Disclosure Defensive Publication
1. For internal, local review For external, global consumption
2. Inventor’s conveyance of thoughts (sometimes a “brain dump”) Structured, well-formatted content
3. For a specific, knowledgeable audience For an audience with a basic knowledge of the art
4. Corporate initiative/project-centered Broader technology solutions
5. Use jargon, company identifiable information Less limiting and more generalized vocabulary
6. Too much or too little description and details Balance of information to describe novelty points and enablement steps

How to reroute an invention disclosure to a defensive publication

Although driving the same vehicle — discussing the same subject — the document’s destination is different. It must travel a new route. How does a company reset the description of the invention?

Technical writers and copy editors with experience in defensive publication safely carry the content from an internal document to a public article. Such editors are uniquely qualified to objectively analyze the raw material(s) the inventors provide and synthesize it to a cogent, accurate, discoverable, and not the least important, understandable piece of prior art.

By preparing solid defensive publications for an organization, editing services facilitate capturing some ROI on the work inventors have already done. Technical writers and copy editors lift the writing burden off inventors and save internal resources, allowing innovation teams to focus on the business of taking ideation to monetization.

To learn more about how Editing Services can get your defensive publications on the right path, contact