5) Be aware of your timeline. Once you make a public disclosure, you only have one year to file your patent application or the U.S. government will consider you to have given it away to the public. A public disclosure can be making an offer to sell your invention or talking about your invention at a public conference. When you are in the lab doing experimental research, the clock is off. But once you make your invention public by blog, at a trade show, or even on a plane in casual conversation, the clock has started. â€œOften people come to me when it is too late. They say, 'Here is a copy of the presentation I did two years ago.' Ok, well now youâ€™ve given it away to the public,â€ says Evans. The good news is that since it was your idea to begin with (and you kept an invention log), no one else can patent your invention. The bad news is, now that it's public information, you can't patent it either.