What is a public disclosure and how will it affect patenting of my invention?
One requirement for obtaining a patent is determining whether the invention is novel,
but an invention can’t be considered novel if it has been publicly disclosed. For purposes
of patent law, a public disclosure may be a published article in a journal, magazine, or
newspaper; a presentation at a conference; a thesis or dissertation defense; distribution
of pre-prints; posting information on the Internet; selling or offering to sell a product;
public use of the invention; and a number of other events that tend to disclose
knowledge to the public.
Is my grant application considered a public disclosure?
Simply submitting a federal grant application is not considered a public disclosure,
but award of a grant is considered a public disclosure because grant applications and
subsequent technical reports are available to the general public upon request.
I described my invention during a public presentation last year.
Can I still file a patent application?
U.S. patent law allows a one-year grace period from the time of first public disclosure
to the time of filing of a U.S. patent application. However, most other nations allow little
to no grace period from the time of first public disclosure, thus resulting in a loss of patent rights.