In the interview process of some tech companies there is a time slot allocated for a presentation to the members of the team, which is expected to be about a topic you have directly worked on.

Some of the work I have done in the past has been filed for patents by my previous companies. It is my understanding that I am not legally allowed to use the work in another company product, but can I still discuss the details of the patent in a presentation in order to show my value as a candidate?

Does it make any difference for the work to have been applied for patent but pending approval?

  • Has the patent application published yet? If yes, then the information is already public.
    – Eric S
    May 10, 2020 at 1:29
  • @EricShain it has not been published, is in the draft stage
    – A. Fenzry
    May 10, 2020 at 3:20
  • Your question specifically says its been filed. Until it is actually filed, I'd avoid discussing specifics of the invention. I'd certainly avoid saying anything specific until the application publishes. You certainly can say you have an invention in the process of being filed for a patent.
    – Eric S
    May 10, 2020 at 15:37
  • @EricShain will try to clarify further the precise stage and update the post or the current accordingly. I thought it would make not a lot of difference. Thanks
    – A. Fenzry
    May 10, 2020 at 22:17

1 Answer 1


Pending approval, or Patent Pending, is the state between an application and issuance of a patent (if it ends up being issued).

When someone files for a patent, they get a filing date. If it is the first patent in the family, it is also the priority date. The priority date is the earliest date to which the applicant can claim precedence.

If there are references that are found from before that date, they can be used to show the inventor is not the first to invent the disclosure.

If there are references that come out after the priority date, they cannot be used to show the inventor is not the first to invent.

In the situation you described, if what is disclosed in the interview is the same as what is disclosed in the patent application, what you disclose could not be used by that second company to obtain a patent on the same subject matter.

Now, can you discuss the details? There are more than just patent considerations here, for instance NDAs.

One way you may be able to talk about it is that you, for instance, "helped develop a novel method of [insert task] using [frameworks] to [improve | speed up | slow down | etc] the [thing]. This has saved Company A $xxx per [unit] and [talk about how your genius doing that thing has made the company more competetive / made the bosses more money].

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