Can I Tell Others About My Invention Before I File a Patent Application?


Yes, if you are only interested in patent rights in the United States. No, if you are interested in patent rights outside of the United States.

In the United States there is a 1-year grace period from when you first publicly disclose your invention or offer it for sale until when you file a patent application. However, the United States is now a first-to-file country, and it is strongly recommended to file a patent application before the invention is publicly disclosed when possible. You reduce the potential for bad things to happen when you follow the old patent adage to “file often and file early.”

Outside of the U.S., each country obviously has its own set of laws on the topic of public disclosure. In some countries some activities may count as a public disclosure, while in other countries they might not. But either way, none of them have a hard-line 1-year grace period like the U.S. and you are best off filing a patent application before publicly disclosing your invention if you want to be certain to preserve your foreign patent filing rights.

Related Topics:

I Haven’t Filed a Patent Application Yet, What Deadlines Should I be Aware of?

How Do I Protect My Invention in Foreign Countries?

What Does it Mean to Be “Patent Pending”?


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