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Just publishing prior art, in a way that proves when you did it, is sufficient. It can still be a problem if you're not aware your idea is being patented, so the patent office doesn't find your prior art, but that's not an issue here.

There are also services where you can register your prior art, which say the USPTO uses them when evaluating claims; I don't know how useful they are in practice.

We (USA) and are a first to patent country now.


Yes but that just means if two inventors are working on something privately, the first to file gets priority, instead of the first to invent. Public prior art still invalidates the patent.

No, recent court decisions say public isn't enough - the invention has to have become fairly well known to practitioners of the art. Mere publication is nothing now.

Can you reference that? Recently I both consulted an attorney on this stuff, and did my own research, and that's the exactly opposite of what I've found.

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