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It's inevitable that if you want to bring your invention from idea to new product introduction, along the way you will have to tell someone about what your invention is.
There are two rules to follow when talking about your invention:
1. Tell as few people as possible.
2. Always use a non-disclosure agreement.
A non-disclosure agreement basically says that the signers are not allowed to talk to anyone else about your idea or to act upon it themselves.
The US Patent and Trade Office has strict rules about the public disclosure of your invention. They will give you one year from your first public disclosure to file for your patent or lose your rights. When you use a non-disclosure agreement, it doesn't count as a public disclosure.