Loss of Rights by Public Disclosure

The Effect of Public Disclosure

You should not reveal your idea to others before arranging for patent protection. In fact, it is best not to disclose the invention until at least "patent pending" status is obtained. Furthermore, if you fail to apply for a patent in a timely manner, you risk having your invention become unpatentable and free for anyone to use.

It is important to understand that any public disclosure of your invention prior to applying for patent protection may affect your chances of actually obtaining patent protection. For example, if you are using or considering using a website to market your product or service, you should be advised that posting information on the Internet means openly disclosing that idea to the public which could potentially undermine your efforts to patent that idea.

Don't Risk Everything!

In some countries, any public exposure of an idea prior to filing an application for a patent will prevent the issuance of a patent. In the U.S., there is a one year grace period to file a patent application after the first public exposure.

One (1) Year Grace Period in the U.S.

By law, you will lose the benefits of U.S. patent protection if your patent application is not filed in the U.S. within one year of being publicly exposed. This public exposure can be a publication about the invention anywhere in the world. Public exposure can also be a sale, an offer of sale or public use of the invention in this country.

No Grace Period in Many Other Countries

Outside the U.S., valid patent rights may be impossible to obtain if the invention is publicly disclosed even one day before the filing of a patent application. To avoid these harsh penalties, it is vital to file your patent application promptly and obtain "patent pending" status before marketing your idea.


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