Last time I spoke to a patent attorney (about two years ago) he said that you can protect your invention for up to a full year (for a full year after the invention has been made public) by simply having knowlegdable individuals review and sign a description and/or drawing of your invention. Has this law changed?
2 Answers from Attorneys
The wisest course of action is to file for a patent. In the event of a conflicting application for a patent you might be able to protect your patent with such a procedure, but then it is likely that the other patent applicant could do the same. The safest protection is to file for the patent.
No law has changed. Either the advice was incorrect or you misunderstood. Having witnesses review the invention is unrelated to protection for a year and is only helpful if two parties file for the same basic invention to prove who really invented first. As Mr. Lundgren stated, an actual application filed as soon as possible is the best approach.